It’s a been a big week when it comes to investment in the Hunter this week, with the Federal and State Governments promising millions of dollars for projects in the region.

On Monday, the Commonwealth agreed to increase their spending on the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace to $1.6 billion.

It’s hoped the 15 kilometre, two-lane extension will bypass congestion pinch-points at Hexham and Heatherbrae.

The Deputy Prime Minister was in the Hunter on Friday for another pair of announcements.

The Federal and State Governments agreed to meet the final $10 million in funding needed for the Newcastle Art Gallery expansion project. 

They’ll split the cost equally between them.

It means the Gallery will close for two years from Monday, as work on the almost $40 million project gets underway.

A Telstra box will need to be moved and mines underneath the Gallery grouted before major expansions to floor space and a new cafe can happen. 

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told reporters it’s a proud moment for Newcastle.

“It allows a lot of those paintings that are sitting back in the dark corners of the dark storage room of Newcastle to brought out so people can see them and enjoy them,” Mr Joyce said.

“This is incredible, when you think about it – Rupert Bunny, Dobell, Brett Whitely, John Olsen, at Newcastle Gallery.”

“It’s a reaffirmation that the city of Newcastle is not an appendage to another place to the south – it’s a place that stands on its own two feet, it’s a growing place, it’s culturally growing.”

New South Wales and the Commonwealth also came to a similar arrangement to fund redevelopment works at Maitland Gaol. 

Another $10 million will be split equally between them and invested into an upgraded entry, a new cafe, and boutique accommodation in a pair of residences on the historic site.

Maitland Council are also hoping to open up the guard towers and bring in private investment for a new hotel next door.

Mr Joyce also announced another $8 million from the Federal Government toward street beautification in Scone.