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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Michael Parris

Crakanthorp still 'knocking on minister's door' to see Hunter Park business case

Tim Crakanthorp speaking at Friday's Property Council lunch. Picture by Peter Lorimer

Minister for the Hunter Tim Crakanthorp told a property industry lunch in Newcastle on Friday that he has not seen the business case for the proposed Hunter Park sports and entertainment precinct.

The project, which has struggled to gain traction since being launched by the former Coalition government in 2017, was City of Newcastle's number one "ask" of both sides of politics before the March 25 NSW election.

The Broadmeadow redevelopment has been on Infrastructure Australia's priority list since 2021 and is widely regarded as a key city-shaping project.

Venues NSW said last year that it had completed a business case for Hunter Park, but the government at the time denied that it had been finalised.

The Newcastle Herald published details from the document in late November.

Mr Crakanthorp said in early March, two weeks before the election, that Labor had met with Venues NSW and the council to discuss the project.

"We know that this is an important initiative to the community," he said at the time.

"We are in the process of thoroughly reviewing the business proposal and will continue to work with stakeholders on this."

Mr Crakanthorp told the Herald on May 5 that he had been in contact with Sports Minister Steve Kamper and Venues NSW chief executive Kerri Mather about receiving briefings "as soon as possible" on Hunter Park.

Six weeks later, the Newcastle MP told Friday's Property Council lunch that the project was "very much a focus for our government" and he was "very, very keen" to see the business case.

"We've just got to wait for the Minister for Sport, specifically Steve Kamper, to get a briefing on it, see it, and I'd love to talk to him about requesting it. Of course I would," he told the crowd.

"I'm knocking on the door of the minister every day, I can tell you. I'm in Parliament again next week. I'll be knocking on the door."

Mr Crakanthorp said the redevelopment site was complex because of the various sporting organisations involved.

"There's a whole lot of dynamics going on in that space. That's why it's so important that we get that final plan so it can be done properly."

Mr Crakanthorp, who is also Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, said the previous government had "left the cupboard bare" for large spending initiatives.

He said addressing the housing supply crisis was a key priority for the government and named the former locomotive depot at Broadmeadow as a candidate for housing under a new Labor directive to develop surplus Crown land.

He said the state had a shortfall of about 134,000 dwellings and planning approval times had "blown out" from 69 days in July 2021 to 116 days in March 2023.

The government announced this week that it would give developers 30 per cent height and density bonuses if they included 15 per cent affordable housing in projects worth more than $75 million.

It has also stipulated quotas of 30 per cent affordable housing in new residential developments on government land.

To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.

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