Monday, 5 March, 2018


Is the Muswellbrook of 2025, or 2055, going to host intensive agriculture or will it be a renewable energy hub?

The pros and cons of these options are being explored by a newly appointed ‘Upper Hunter Regional Economist’ based in Muswellbrook Shire Council and shared with the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Research Foundation Centre.

The Upper Hunter Regional Economist will provide analysis of investment and economic development opportunities for the Shire. Iavor Stefanov has been appointed to the role. He will also establish a means to enable investors, businesses and households to track trends in social and economic indicators across the region to inform their long-term decisions.

Mayor for Muswellbrook, Martin Rush, said the Upper Hunter Regional Economist would support the Shire Council’s strategies to strengthen the region’s economic base.

“Muswellbrook Shire Council has a comprehensive economic development program underway to generate more jobs and grow the region.

“To build a sustainable local economy, we need insight that identifies opportunities in the market where we have a competitive advantage. We have to identify areas of investment that will deliver the greatest returns.

“Our strategy depends on this appointment because it enables us to get independent economic assessment and analysis when we need it,” Mayor Rush said.

Based part-time in Muswellbrook and part-time in Newcastle, the Upper Hunter Regional Economist will also advance the HRF Centre’s research program.

HRF Centre Director, Professor Will Rifkin, said the appointment aligned with the Centre’s focus on the region.

“For more than 60 years, researchers in the HRF Centre have focused on deepening our understanding of how this region works. In more recent times, key developments have included the transition from mining in the Upper Hunter to a more diverse economy.

“What we learn here in the Upper Hunter can be shared across the state, as well as nationally and internationally. It will help to inform the strategies of others who are facing similar transitions,” Professor Rifkin said.

The Upper Hunter Regional Economist will commence working in Muswellbrook in the coming weeks.

Share Prof Will Rifkin