Features

A concierge service for new manufacturing businesses

Manufacturers’ Monthly explores the three pillars behind recent manufacturing investment attraction in the Hunter Valley’s Greater Cessnock.

Manufacturers’ Monthly explores the three pillars behind recent manufacturing investment attraction in the Hunter Valley’s Greater Cessnock.

Cessnock City Council is playing its part in supporting local manufacturing. A new initiative means investors to the region will be provided with economic data, a business concierge service for projects that create 10 or more jobs and an efficient planning approval service and planning advice and guidance.

Tony Chadwick, economic development & tourism manager, explained the council’s vision for manufacturing in the region.

“Of the 19 different industry sectors, economic data shows that manufacturing is a key driver in exports, employment and local expenditure. Manufacturing is second only to the construction industry as a key economic driver in the greater Cessnock economy at this time,” he said.

“100 direct manufacturing jobs will create a further 81 indirect jobs, highlighting the importance to our region. By comparison 100 direct accommodation and food service jobs will create 21 indirect jobs. So for this reason manufacturing is a focus for our team.”

The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region, but the region is making more than internationally acclaimed drops.

Being located in Australia’s oldest wine region, the Cessnock LGA generated revenue of $407 million from wine manufacturing in 2021. Other significant revenue generating manufacturing sectors are:

  • Chemical manufacturing: $423 million
  • Metal and metal product manufacturing: $133 million
  • Food manufacturing: $80 million
  • Saw mill and wood products: $30 million
  • Beer manufacturing: $21 million
  • Other products: $59 million

The LGA covers approximately 1,950 square kilometres and forms part of the Lower Hunter. European settlement since the 1820’s saw the establishment of pastoral lands, the coal mining industry, the viticulture industry and more recently a thriving tourism industry.

While mining was the principal industrial base and source of employment in the Cessnock Region for the first half of the twentieth century, changes in the mining industry, including deepening coal seams and automation, has led to the closure of mines in the area.

Cessnock’s industrial area

With supply chain security a desire for Australia, the Hunter having good electricity supply and an abundance of industrial land, we see manufacturing as playing an important role in our future. With 1198 hectares of industrial land zones, a population growth rate of over 2 per cent and ready supply of labour from Cessnock and surrounding towns, there is an excellent opportunity to expand our manufacturing base.

The natural environment

The Hunter Valley is know for its scenic beauty – the natural landscape is a big part of attracting different businesses.

Cessnock is characterised by large areas of steep, heavily vegetated terrain in the south and east, as well as flat, cleared areas surrounding the town of Cessnock and neighbouring urban areas. The flat terrain around the Cessnock township contains some of the largest remaining remnants of the valley-floor vegetation in the Hunter Valley.

Heritage is at the heart of the Cessnock LGA – several hundred items of heritage significance, including items of indigenous, built and natural significance contribute to its true ‘country town’ character.

Connectivity

Key to a manufacturer’s success is the ability to transport and distribute products. Cessnock has excellent transport infrastructure, is positioned on transport routes and is in close proximity to the Port of Newcastle and the Newcastle airport.

Port of Newcastle is the largest port on the East Coast of Australia. As a global trade gateway for more than 220 years, the Port delivers safe, sustainable and efficient logistics solutions for its customers.

With a deep-water shipping channel, capacity to double trade volumes, available portside land and berthside connections to the heavy rail network, few Australian ports can match the unique capabilities of Port of Newcastle. The Port creates jobs and generates more investment in the local community, This contribution has been valued at $1.6 billion to the Lower Hunter economy and 9,000 local jobs per annum.

The Newcastle airport is Australia’s sixth largest regional airport. In the New South Wales Government’s eyes, the airport is the regional hub of Australian industry participation supporting the Joint Strike Fighter fleets in the Asia Pacific region.

Further to this, Cessnock Airport is primed for growth and is ready to leverage from opportunities from surrounding regional airports, including Newcastle and Bankstown. Its accessible location, proximity to major freight routes and capacity to absorb future growth means the airport hosts a number of complimentary aviation businesses and has a growing demand for pilot skills and training (fixed wing and rotary).

Kurri Kurri

Kurri Kurri has 64 hectares of IN3 industrial zoned land, with both greenfield and brownfield sites available, as well as 216 hectares of IN2 industrial zoned land at Black Hill.

“The NSW Department of Planning and Environment are currently reviewing the development application to redevelop the former Hydro aluminium smelter plant at Kurri Kurri,” Chadwick said.

“This 2,000ha site has a mix of industrial and business zones as well as 2,000 new residential homesites. The site offers excellent connectivity to nearby centres of Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, East Maitland and Central Maitland with access to Newcastle City only 40 minutes away via the Hunter Expressway. Other sites are available at various locations throughout the region.”

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