23rd July 2021, the Hunter Valley Statehood Movement has gained momentum following the Federal Court’s ruling against the Port of Newcastle’s planned container terminal. The movement said that widespread community outrage over the decision had invigorated its supporters to push ahead with the launch of the campaign.
The Hunter Valley Statehood Movement was formed earlier this year with proponents confident the group is here to stay as the Hunter continued to suffer many hits over the last 12 months. The Federal Court ruling follows the NSW Budget earlier this month which included over $100 billion in statewide funding for infrastructure over the next four years but no new significant capital works in the Hunter.
Bryce Ham, spokesperson for the movement, “The decision by the Federal Court to uphold the state government’s blatantly anti-competitive port lease deeds was incredibly disappointing but not a shock. To see the judge describe the chances of a container terminal in Newcastle, which is integral to the future of industry in our region, as ‘fanciful, far-fetched, infinitesimal or trivial’ was a disgrace. The Hunter has never gotten our fair share in New South Wales. We’re sick and tired of this shit. Something has to change.”
The state of NSW is almost as large as France and Germany combined and there is a growing disparity between the needs of metropolitan Sydney and regional urban centres. Despite its vast physical size, NSW is centrally administered from Macquarie Street. The Sydney government inevitably places high priority on capital city needs at the expense of the regions. The needs of Sydney greatly overshadow those of regional NSW. Residents in regional urban centres have good reason to complain of many years of neglect.
Ham, “The current situation is a joke. The Hunter is the largest regional economy in Australia and contributes over A$34.7 billion to the NSW economy but we didn’t get a cent of new infrastructure projects in this year’s budget. Many Hunter projects sit on the desks of bureaucrats in Macquarie Street but go unfunded despite their clear economic benefits to the Hunter. This includes the Airport and Art Gallery upgrades, the Lower Hunter Freight Bypass, the Glendale Interchange, and the Light Rail extensions. This has to change, we need to put our future into our own hands.”
The movement, which aims to hold its first major action in the next six months, highlighted that it is fighting for a Royal Commission into the feasibility of Hunter Valley Statehood to be held as soon as possible, and a referendum on Hunter Valley Statehood by 2030. It encourages people to visit its website and social media pages to learn more and find out how they can take action.
Ham, “With a Hunter Valley State, we will shape our own destiny. Decisions on our future will be made right here, not in a courtroom or parliament in Sydney.
Media enquiries: email firstname.lastname@example.org
More info: visit the movement’s website hunterstatehood.com