Hunter 2050 Foundation would help the region take control of its future by giving communities, businesses and industry the time and tools they need to adapt and diversify

At a time great significant changes in the Hunter Valley the region is now working to establish a new foundation to assist with the creation of jobs and economic growth in response to scheduled power station and thermal mine closures over the coming decades.

In response to these industrial changes, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, a new Hunter 2050 Foundation would help the region take control of its future by giving communities, businesses and industry the time and tools they need to adapt and diversify.

"This is about safeguarding the future of the Hunter region," Hunter Joint Organisation Board Chair and Mayor of Cessnock City Council Cr Bob Pynsent said.

"The simple fact of the matter is the coal and energy sector in the Hunter is changing. While the future of the Hunter will include coal, we know that future global demand and use of coal is not something we can control or influence.

"So, we must look now at how we can address long-term changes to the coal power industry. There are 25,000 people in the Hunter working directly in mining, energy, or in supporting industries and businesses.

"If we act early on this, we have an incredible opportunity to future proof our local economy and create new industries, businesses and employment opportunities right here in the region.

FUTURE PLANS: Jennifer Westacott AO (Business Council of Australia), Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Singleton mayor Sue Moore in Canberra in February 2020.

FUTURE PLANS: Jennifer Westacott AO (Business Council of Australia), Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Singleton mayor Sue Moore in Canberra in February 2020.

"This Foundation will help hundreds of businesses a year and thousands of workers. We are looking to partner with industry who have an immediate interest in economic transformation with the closure of both the Liddell and Bayswater Power Stations scheduled in 2023 and 2035, respectively.

"We also see an opportunity to bring significant investment dollars into the region. There are opportunities in new energy production and storage, the redevelopment and repurposing of industrial land and in backing local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses."

The importance of the Foundation has already been highlighted by the impact of COVID-19 on the Hunter region.

"COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable we are to global economic shifts. This new Foundation is about preparing for a future where the region relies on a healthy mix of new and traditional industries,"

Hunter Joint Organisation Board Member and Mayor of Singleton Council Cr Sue Moore said. The new Foundation is being supported by the Hunter Joint Organisation, as well as industry partners, education providers, local leaders and community.