The future of the Upper Hunter is "highly uncertain" and urgent action is needed if the region is to avoid the worst social and economic impacts of the coal market's decline, an internal State Government-commissioned report has warned.
The Upper Hunter Futures report also says a willingness to adapt and proactively prepare for rapid economic change is essential if the Upper Hunter is to make the transition to a stable and secure future.
If managed well, communities in the Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shire local government areas stand to capitalise on significant opportunities to improve social equity in areas such as housing, transport and community services and renewable energy generation.
"The economic future of the Upper Hunter is highly uncertain and could follow a number of different pathways based on global, national and local trends and disrupters," the report, classified as 'commercial in confidence' says.
The Department of Regional NSW commissioned the international economics consultancy Deloitte to produce the report in late 2020.
The 180-page document, obtained by the The Hunter Renewal Project under Government Information (Public Access) Act legislation, provides an objective analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing the region in the decades ahead.