Newcastle and the Hunter Valley will be promoted to the nation as an ideal place to do business following the launch of the Hunter Advantage initiative last week. Here is how The Herald newspaper announced the initiative:
THE Hunter is set to go head-to-head with major growth regions like south-eastern Queensland to market itself as an economic powerhouse.
A new venture with private sector backing will be launched in Newcastle on Friday to send the message that the Hunter is open for business.
Called Hunter Advantage, the marketing project will combine a national advertising campaign with an internet site to build a strong case for business and industry to invest in or relocate to the Hunter and stimulate growth.
Among the backers are business heavyweights Jeff McCloy, Hilton Grugeon, Richard Owens, Bill Saddington, Mark Fitzgibbon and Phil Gardner and a host of Hunter corporations and business groups.
“This is about everyone working together to attract economic prosperity and jobs to our region,” developer Jeff McCloy said yesterday.
“We’ve got so much more to offer here in the Hunter and we’ve got to promote it as a great place to do business.”
The campaign follows Hunter Business Chamber warnings that the region is not immune to the deepening effects of global recession and that a growing number of local businesses will be forced to reduce staff in the next three months.
Figures the chamber released yesterday said 22 per cent of businesses surveyed expected to sack staff in that period.
But some of the region’s most influential business people say the Hunter could reap long-term prosperity, and jobs, by promoting its advantages.
An advertising campaign titled “A Sound Business Case”, will go national from Friday and an internet site will provide information on all aspects of the region, including education and lifestyle.
It will also contain case studies of businesses that have successfully relocated premises and staff to the Hunter.
Mr McCloy said the project, set up with seed-funding from the private sector, was working in conjunction with the State Government through the Hunter Development Corporation.
Advantages the Hunter had over other regions included availability of commercial land, a skilled workforce, affordable residential prices and a good lifestyle.
“Put that together with our educational facilities, airport, access to roads, rail, the port, water and power and I can’t see any restraints to locating business here,” Mr McCloy said.
Wests Group chief executive Philip Gardner said many businesses hit hard by the financial downturn and struggling with the high costs of larger metropolitan areas would look at the Hunter as an ideal place to re-locate.
Hunter development Corporation chairman Paul Broad said the project would help to streamline development activity.