Local businesses can take confidence from important policy and fiscal announcements at the National, State and local levels recently. First and foremost the RBA has cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its June meeting and nearly all commentators are tipping at least one more similar cut in August this year.
Combined with the promised tax cuts to be delivered in the second half of 2019 this should give a boost to economic activity in all sectors. Clearance rates in the Sydney property market have lifted in recent weeks to close to 60% which is an indicator of more confidence there which should flow through to boost the housing sector locally.
The NSW State Government has brought down a budget big on infrastructure spending and this includes $50m for the Ocean Drive upgrade. In tandem with the recently adopted PMHC Operational Plan which seeks to spend over $85m on upgraded and new infrastructure in the area this is very good news for local professional service providers, materials suppliers and contractors. A combined state and local spend of over $135m is very positive government investment in our area which not only provides vital infrastructure but augers well for local business opportunities.
Construction is now well underway on Stage 1 of the Port Base Hospital Carpark expansion with $5m in funding from the State Government. This is another key element in the planning and development of the Health and Education Precinct (HEP) to cater for expected growth in both industries locally. Council has also recently completed a Masterplanning Consultation Project involving key stakeholders with the aim of developing and implementing a precinct plan to maximise health and education business opportunities.
There is also strong private investment confidence in Port Macquarie which is evidenced by some large projects already underway and more in the pipeline. Charles Sturt University are well underway with their Stage 2 building project and plans for expanding course offerings to both domestic and international students. CSU as pre-eminent tertiary education institution is a valuable asset to our community and will continue to be a significant game changer for Port Macquarie in terms of educational opportunities, demographics and the outlook of our community for several decades to come.
In the Western growth corridor private investment includes ongoing construction of a new retail and commercial centre which is Stage 1 of the new Town Centre at Sovereign Hills. This new retail and commercial centre is due to open in November and underpins the Town Centre which is part of the Sovereign Hills Masterplanned community. This is a significant private investment in our area and demonstrates a high level of confidence in the future growth of Port Macquarie by the Sovereign Hills Project Group.
Council has also recently approved an expansion of the Port Central Shopping Centre by Gowings, rezoning land for a major Highway Service Centre, new and expanded aged care facilities as well as a number of residential developments across the entire Local Government Area.
The level of government and private investment in the Port Macquarie area continues to demonstrate a commitment and confidence that it is well placed for strong economic growth and business opportunities. For those local business owners seeking networking opportunities or guidance researching this area and target markets go to our website: www.portchamber.com.au