Newcastle at a Glance

  • Newcastle is the leading coal export port on the planet and the Newcastle Index is the benchmark for coal pricing across Asia.
  • Around $8 billion of infrastructure projects have commenced including some already completed with about the same volume of new projects currently proposed.
  • These projects include;                
    • Mangoola Coal Mine near Muswellbrook, attracting around $1.1 billion in investment and creating 1000 direct and indirect jobs.
    • Mt Arthur Mine has received $400 million in additional funding from owners BHP Billiton which is expected to increase production by 25% and create an additional 200 direct jobs.
    • The NSW government announced a $2 billion expansion to Bayswater B power station in March 2010.  It is a key asset of Macquarie Generation, which supplies around 40% of NSW energy needs.
    • In May 2010, a $1 billion expansion to the Port of Newcastle was completed.
    • In September 2010 $1.2 billion funding was secured for further port expansion.  The then NSW government believed that this would generate $5 billion further infrastructure investment and create around $6.5 billion additional annual revenue by 2016.  Around 4,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created during construction over the next 5 years.
    • $670 million expansion of Port Waratah expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
    • Eastern Star Gas has proposed a CSG export terminal worth $2.5 billion which is awaiting confirmation.  The main driver is $1 billion rail upgrade which was approved in April 2011.
  • Coal mining in the Hunter Valley has driven growth to this point and the significantly greater reserves in the Gunnedah Basin, with around 20 mines currently in development phase are as yet untapped.
  • Around 200 projects in all are proposed for the Hunter and Newcastle.  Not already mentioned are Orica’s ammonium nitrate plant expansion, upgrades and expansion to Newcastle airport, $1.4 billion of federally funded improvements to the Hunter Expressway and the creation of new suburbs both by land releases and the conversion of existing suburbs from light industrial to residential.
  • Travel commentator “Lonely Planet” has listed Newcastle as the 7th “hottest” city on the planet for tourists, a list which Sydney and Melbourne for example, have never made.
  • GPT group abandoned a proposed $600 million project in the CBD in August 2010 due to inadequate state government development of rail and other services.  The new Premier Barry O’Farrell has declared support for both CBD and rail development and in late April 2011 the discarded project had attracted the interest of Nathan Tinkler’s Buildev Group.
  • Newcastle University currently supports 32,000 students and has plans to expand to 40,000 students by 2020.  Around 6,000 of these will attend new campuses in city fringe areas such as Honeysuckle that have undergone significant urban renewal.
  • $26 million of upgrades are planned for John Hunter Hospital.
  • A significant sea change and “tree change” movement has seen many retirees and pre-retirees move to the Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie and Lower Hunter regions.
  • The March 2011 state election shift in sympathies points to this evolving demographic.  Newcastle and Swansea for example, had never been held by anyone other than the Labor Party.
  • The city beaches continue to be an iconic destination.  Not only the culture that has produced world surfing champions but also as one of the most desirable residential areas on the NSW coast.  Nathan Tinkler’s $13 million development at Dixon Park Beach brings the top end of the Newcastle market into the Sydney bracket.
  • Newcastle property suffered a retracement in pricing over 2010 but historically many suburbs have long term growth rates in excess of 10% (before the current level of stimulus).
  • The Housing Industry Association believes the Lower Hunter currently requires another 4,000 dwellings to meet current demand, with the undersupply continually worsening.

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