Plans to remediate a former hydro aluminum smelter site at Kurri Kurri in order to create a new commercial and industrial precinct have been approved by the NSW Government.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the approval to remediate the 80-hectare portion of the site as a containment cell for contaminated material had the potential to create thousands of new jobs for the region.

“This exciting step forward means plans can progress to redevelop the broader 2,000 hectare hydro site to create new jobs in the Hunter while maintaining approximately half of the land for environmental conservation,” Mr Stokes said.

“Its proximity to the Hunter Expressway makes it ideal for a new commercial and industrial precinct and we look forward to working with the landowner and councils to develop a masterplan for the site.

“This is an area with great potential, especially considering the Government recently declared Snowy Hydro’s plans for a new $610 million gas fired power station as critical state significant infrastructure.”

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the NSW Government had also agreed to take on the ongoing management of the containment cell once all the remediation works have been completed and certified.

“This agreement is crucial to the site’s remediation and future redevelopment,” Mrs Pavey said.

“It ensures adequate arrangements are in place for the long-term management of the containment cell, safeguarding human and environmental health so we can unlock the potential of the site for business and the people of the Hunter region.”

Under the voluntary planning agreement, the Government’s Waste Assets Management Corporation (WAMC) will take on the ownership and environmental management of the containment cell once it has been suitably constructed and passed a five-year warranty period. WAMC’s management of the containment cell will be wholly funded by a $6.5 million development contribution.