Community

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A collective of ex-service officials are hoping to establish a one-stop shop at Wallsend to house the variety of services on offer to past and present members of the Australian Defence Force.

The proposal comes at a time when many ex-service organisations are looking to get more younger personnel involved in their work.

Among talks are the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Veterans’ Association, Newcastle Vietnam Veterans and Wallsend RSL Sub-Branch.

The centre has been discussed previously, but has recently gained momentum and a meeting will be held on June 7 to establish a list of interested parties. The centre could be open to emergency service workers too.

“We’re finding that the younger veterans, from after Vietnam on, there’s no tendency to join the RSL,” Stephen Finney OAM said.

“There’s quite a number involved, but we’re finding a lot of them don’t know the services that are out there for them. What we want to do is organise this separate entity, where them and their families are quite welcome to just come in, have a cup of tea and catch up with somebody. Have all the services available there and get it to be run by some of the young veterans.”

Mr Finney, 70, is an Australian Army veteran who has been helping ex-services for over 40 years. He is a life member of the TPI Association, as well as vice-president of the City of Newcastle RSL Sub Branch, Vietnam Vets, and secretary of the TPI.

He says the need for a centre is paramount and centralising services will strengthen support by increasing availability and accessibility.

“There’s been more Afghanistan veterans commit suicide than there was killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

“There’s a lot of services there for them to access, but they need to know where to go … we want to set this up to help them and assist them in any way that we can.”

Mr Finney received an Order of Australia medal in 2008 for services to the veteran community. It followed the work of his father, who got the same award in 1986.

“The wealth of knowledge I’ve got, I want to give it to one of these younger guys and let them carry on.”

The centre could also host consults of the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), as well as legal, financial and health services.

Mr Finney says the Wallsend site, the TPI building on Cowper Street owned by Newcastle City Council, is a more central Hunter location than the DVA’s Auckland Street premises in Newcastle.

“Where we want to put the drop-in centre, it’s on a main artery, we’d put some big signs up there and people could just call in. Find out what’s available for them.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5430820/veterans-drop-in-hub-at-wallsend-proposed-by-ex-service-groups/?cs=12

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Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has been recognised at the 2018 PIANC Working with Nature Awards for restoring wetland habitat on Ash Island.

NCIG was the recipient of a certificate of recognition, which is the first to be received by an Australian project since the establishment of the awards in 2014.

The group has been working with National Parks and Wildlife, the University of NSW, Hunter Bird Observers Club and other groups to re-establish the endangered coastal saltmarsh ecological community.

The tidal wetlands around the Port of Newcastle are home to a number of threatened species and communities. The coastal saltmarsh vegetation community and numerous species of migratory shorebirds, such as the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper, are increasingly losing habitat along the Australasian-East Asian Flyway.

NCIG created habitat for migratory shorebirds in an area close to the terminal site, specifically Ash Island in the Hunter Wetlands National Park.

The construction of habitat on Ash Island included restoration of 24 hectares of migratory shorebird habitat, including removal of 17 hectares of juvenile mangroves, installation of an automated flood gate to manage tidal levels and manage re-establishment of mangroves in the habitat, installation of mangrove seed screens to prevent mangrove seeds from floating into the habitat system and installation of “bird diverter” devices on local electricity infrastructure to make power lines more visible to birds flying in and out of the habitat.

NCIG’s CEO, Aaron Johanse, said the nomination is testament to NCIG’s commitment to the environment and the local Hunter Estuary wetlands.

“The migratory shorebird habitat restoration project is unique in its type and scale and unlike any other conducted in Australia,” he said.

“The great beneficiary of this project however is local wetland communities and the vulnerable and endangered migratory shorebird species which rely on them.”
Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5425099/newcastle-coal-infrastructure-group-awarded-for-its-wetland-restoration/?cs=316

 

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EACH week, the Weathertex manufacturing plant at Heatherbrae sends up to four double-size containers full of its hardwood-based wall-cladding products by semi-trailer to Port Botany.

Executive chairman Paul Michael says the company, which exports about 20 per cent of its product, would love to ship its containers out of Newcastle, and is supporting the Port of Newcastle’s push to have a container terminal established on the former steelworks site.

About 10 kilometres away, the giant Tomago Aluminium smelter brings in about 1.1 million tonnes of its main raw material, alumina, through the Port of Newcastle each year.

About 60,000 tonnes of aluminium – or about 10 per cent of its output – heads the other way out past Nobbys as bulk cargo.

But most of Tomago’s output, or about 500,000 tonnes a year, is exported through Botany, leaving the smelter on freight trains at the rate of about 400 containers a week.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell says the company is “doing the sums” on what a Newcastle container terminal would do for the smelter, saying “we can see the sense and logic” in the proposal.

“The Hunter has the industrial presence to support a container terminal,” Mr Howell said. “Obviously there are no concrete plans as yet but we like the idea.”

With a Newcastle container terminal back on the political agenda, Weathertex and Tomago are just two of the Hunter businesses who see benefits in shipping containers out of Newcastle.

Mr Michael says as well as a saving in trucking costs, growing congestion made planning truck movements in and out of Sydney was becoming increasingly difficult.

The Port of Newcastle has highlighted transport costs and congestion in recent documents, including a submission to the NSW government’s draft freight and ports plan, which closed for consultation in March.

The NSW opposition is supporting the Newcastle push, with Labor leader Luke Foley saying the secret container fee imposed on the port during its privatisation was stopping it from developing a container terminal.

The fee would add about $150 a container to Newcastle’s costs.

It meant “a wide swathe of the state from the Hunter and the Hawkesbury to New England and the mid-North Coast will be paying more to import and export their goods”.

“The Berejiklian government’s decision to prevent Newcastle from competing with Port Botany means imposing high transport costs on businesses for 98 years,” Mr Foley said, referring to the length of the Newcastle lease.

Dubbing the fee a “port rort”, Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said Hunter businesses had put the cost of road-hauling a container to Sydney at about $1500.

“This includes fuel, maintenance, vehicle booking fees, surcharges and labour,” Mr Crakanthorp said. “The tolls alone for travelling north from Botany are $68.19 one way. These costs would be much reduced, or avoided altogether, if a container terminal was developed in Newcastle.”

After a tour of the Weathertex plant, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said it was a “manufacturing marvel” that would benefit from a Newcastle container terminal.

Mr Michael said that after 20 years under the existing ownership, the plant had lifted output from 1.2 million square metres a year to two million square metres.

It had been running around the clock on two 12-hour shifts a day and was about to add a third shift, meaning another 15 or so jobs on top of a workforce of about 100.

The plant had capacity to run four shifts a day.

Mr Michael said the plant, built in 1939, was the only one of its kind left operating in the world.

It still made small amounts of its original product, masonite interior panelling, but its main output was Weathertex, made for external use in various styles.”

Masonite and Weathertex are both made of hardwood pulp, formed into shape using high pressure steam and hydraulic presses.

Masonite is named after William H. Mason, who patented what became known as the Mason process in America in 1924.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5402664/what-could-a-newcastle-container-terminal-mean-for-these-local-industries/

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POWER company AGL has committed to building a 252 megawatt gas-fired power station somewhere “near Newcastle” as part of its plan for life after Liddell shuts at Muswellbrook in 2022.

Chief executive Andy Vesey will be at an AGL facility at Tomago on Friday to publicly announce the decision, which was released late yesterday to the stock exchange.

Although AGL is yet to formally commit to a site, the Newcastle Herald understands that the company is looking at a shortlist of three possible sites within a few kilometres of each other, in and around Tomago.

Macquarie Generation, which AGL purchased from the NSW government for $1.5 billion in 2014, gained approval for a similarly sized gas-fired power station at Tomago in 2003.

The approval may have lapsed, but that plant had a proposed first stage of 260 megawatts.

It was aimed at easing power shortages at the time caused by a rapid uptake of air-conditioners.

Although the new plant will not fully replace Liddell, which can generate 2000 megawatts, AGL is promoting it as part of a broader generation plan submitted to the federal government and the Australian Energy Market Operator in December.

“AGL is committed to supporting the orderly transition of Australia’s electricity generation capacity to modern, clean and reliable energy supply,” Mr Vesey said.

“That’s why we gave seven years notice of when we intend to close Liddell … and we are pleased to commit today to build the gas power station near Newcastle.”

Mr Vesey said the power station would be built near AGL’s Tomago gas facility, off Old Punt Road, which was approved by the NSW government in 2012. It and an AGL substation are close to Tomago Aluminium.

He said AGL had now committed to the first stage of its NSW generation plan, which included a 100-megawatt upgrade of Bayswater power station, a solar off-take to provide 300 megawatts, a “demand response” program that would encourage customers to use the equivalent of 20 megawatts less power, and the Tomago gas plant.

He said they were still looking at stage two, which included another 500 megawatts of gas. With all of the stage one elements in place, Mr Vesey said there was enough power to “address the capacity shortfall that may occur as a result of Liddell closing”.

“We are optimistic that the National Energy Guarantee will provide sufficient policy certainty to enable market participants such as AGL to invest with even greater confidence in cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy generation.”

“Electricity generation is undergoing an increasingly rapid transition to lower-cost, clean renewable energy and storage technologies.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5366930/agl-to-build-400-million-gas-fired-power-station-near-newcastle/

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Merewether’s most prominent sports ground is set for an impressive upgrade after Newcastle City Council unveiled plans to renovate and extend the existing grandstand at Townson Oval.

The $2m redevelopment will be jointly-funded by council and Merewether Carlton Rugby Club and is set to provide a vast improvement to the playing and viewing experience at the ground, also known as Mitchell Park.

A  top-floor glass pavilion which can be opened to the sea breeze tops the list of upgrades, which includes a new gym, change rooms, refurbished public amenities and installation of a lift.

The project will benefit Townson Oval’s other tenants, South Newcastle Rugby League Club and Merewether District Cricket Club.

“I am delighted to announce this much-needed upgrade for Mitchell Park or Townson Oval,” Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This proposed project is a fine example of how sporting clubs and associations are able to contribute and partner with Council on refurbishing their home grounds.

“The upgrade will deliver an asset for the entire community and provide the footballing, cricket and cycling groups that use Townson a boost.”

Council has listed the project in a draft budget which they are considering placing on public exhibition on Tuesday night, before final adoption in June.

They will fund $1.5m for the grandstand’s base build, with Merewether Carlton set to provide $500,000 from club reserves and funds raised by the Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation.

Merewether Carlton’s contribution will fund the interior fit-out of the new glass pavilion, which will be known as the club’s new ‘Green Room’.

John Davis, a board member of Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation, said the new grandstand and Green Room are a game changer for the club.

“We are extremely grateful to be able to partner with Council to help redevelop the grandstand,” Mr Davis said.

“Not only will it offer our players, members and supporters better facilities, it will give fans a better vantage point from up behind the bleachers and also allow administrators to host in-house presentations, sponsors functions and club events.”

Construction is likely to commence after the football season pending final approval of the council budget.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5369589/redevelopment-plans-unveiled-for-merewether-sports-ground-video/

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THE Hunter is proving a holiday hot spot for other Australians, with stays in the region increasing faster than the national average, according to new figures released today.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) statistics show a 22 per cent growth in Australians visiting the Hunter over the past three years, Liberal Senator for NSW, Arthur Sinodinos, said.

“That’s much more than the national figure of 15 per cent and testimony to the Hunter Region’s attractiveness as a destination for holidaying Australians,” Senator Sinodinos said.

He said the statistics showed 3.63 million local tourists visited the Hunter Region in the last 12 months, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Most tourism in the Hunter was domestic, with short stays of two nights, the statistics revealed.

“On average, they’re spending $467 a head, which is 17 per cent more than the year before and a 27 per cent increase over three years,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Data for international visitors released earlier this month showed 194,000 visitors from overseas flocked to the Hunter in the year to December 2017, a 12-month increase of 14 per cent.
Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5308944/the-secrets-out-hunter-proving-hot-spot-for-aussie-mini-breaks/

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Incorporated in 1992, HunterNet is a network of manufacturing, engineering and specialist services companies located in the Hunter and Central Coast Regions.

Formed as a not for profit co-operative, the organisation involves more than 200 companies.

Of course it all started on a much smaller scale in 1991, when 14 member companies agreed on the co-operative structure. There had been a decrease in ship building activity, activity at the BHP steelworks and a recognition that companies needed to diversify if they were going to survive in the region. HunterNet was formed around one idea – “the power of many”.

Watch the story of this Hunter-based organisation.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5320678/newcastle-business-2020-watch-the-story-of-the-hunternet/

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Unemployment or changing jobs or being stuck in a career rut is stressful no matter how you look at it, but when you multiply it by two, it can really take a toll on you and your relationship.

When my husband and I lost our jobs within six weeks of each other, we were in shock—and found ourselves spending a lot of time together, for better or for worse. During that harrowing period, we attempted to reinvent ourselves as professionals without losing who we were as a couple.

Now that we’re both collecting paychecks again, it’s easy to see many of the mistakes we made as we navigated the rocky road back to full-time employment together. The following is my hard-won wisdom on how to handle joint career stress without losing your peace of mind or your relationship in the process.

Respect Each Other’s Methods

Remember the old “opposites attract?” Well, my husband and I approached our job searches from completely different angles. I regarded it as a numbers games, sending my resume far and wide, while my husband was more strategic, cultivating connections and networking with everyone he’d ever met.

When I tried to convince him to give my way a go when some of his leads didn’t pan out, he insisted his strategy would eventually bear fruit. Likewise, when he suggested I get back in touch with people I hadn’t spoken with in years, I hesitated. Though we were skeptical of each other’s methods, neither of us was right nor wrong.

Respect your partner’s approach to their career, and if you can borrow what’s working for them and incorporate it into your own game plan, all the better. Because, ultimately, both tactics led us to new positions.

Work as a Team

During a rough career patch, you can definitely feel isolated and alone. If there’s an upside to facing it as a couple, it’s that you’ve got a partner who is attempting to overcome the same hurdle, which means your relationship has probably never been filled with more empathy. Use that compassion to cheer each other on and be encouraging on those dark days when your inboxes seem to overflow with rejection emails.

In addition to providing emotional support, you can benefit from having a ready and willing interview partner. Trust me, it’s a lot better to make mistakes in a mock interview with your significant other than with your would-be boss.

Be Gentle With Each Other

When you’re feeling raw and vulnerable during this time, something as small as a sideways glance can feel like a devastating slight.

Though it might be tempting to offer advice, sometimes your partner may just want to vent and know that their feelings are heard and valid. It’s important to keep communication open and figure out what makes each of you feel supported.

When my husband was passed over for a position we were almost certain he’d get, I found myself saying things like, “I don’t understand. How could you not have gotten it?” This ultimately wasn’t helpful for either of us. People process these life events in different ways, so treat each other with care.

Put Away Your Pride and Get Help if You Need It

There’s no denying that a career bump can cause your confidence to plummet while your stress level skyrockets. These factors can wreak havoc on even the most rock-solid relationship. Just remember, you’re not alone.

From career counseling to marriage counseling, if this period is taking a toll on your mental health or your relationship, seek help. Having a professional third party provide strategies for navigating this difficult period can assist you in getting back on track.

Though it may not feel like it while you’re in the thick of it, you will come out on the other side, and when you do, your relationship may be stronger for having weathered this challenging period nobly together.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-deal-relationship-rough-career-change?ref=recently-published-0

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THANKS, in the main, to the bad behaviour of a few smarties, and buoyed by the negative publicity at the ICAC, there was a time not so long ago when nobody wanted to be known as a property developer.

But as the Newcastle Herald has argued before, property developers are the people who build our homes, our offices, our industrial workplaces. Their contribution to our economy is essential, especially at a time like now, where Newcastle is going through a once-in-a-lifetime urban overhaul which – despite the understandable angst it is causing those caught in its midst – should set up the CBD for the next 40 years or more.

At a Property Council of Australia lunch at City Hall on Friday, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and a Colliers International representative, Peter Macadam, spoke about the opportunities and the challenges facing the Newcastle CBD and its property market.

By any measure, the city is experiencing a building boom. Construction cranes are dotting the skyline in unprecedented numbers. If the city hasn’t changed its shape already, it will certainly have a different look and feel in the west end if the redevelopment of the Store site results in the sort of 90-metre tower block – or even two 90-metre buildings – that Cr Nelmes was championing on Friday. The Store site has the potential to be the biggest development ever seen in the CBD, and with a mixture of commercial development on its lower floors, and apartments in its reach to the sky, it will add to the CBD’s resident population, and enhance its business base.

But it’s the ratio between the two – and the degree to which residential development is seemingly outpacing commercial construction – that has some in the property industry concerned.

As Cr Nelmes remarked on Friday, we need to maintain a certain density of commercial development in the city if Newcastle is to have a CBD in anything but name. Despite the plethora of cranes, developers say it’s very hard to make purely non-residential developments stack up in the city. Land prices and the competition that Newcastle faces in attracting new employers – having lost many regional branch offices in recent decades – are just two of the reasons why.

Even so, there is no doubting we have achieved much in recent years. The job now is to attract more big employers, companies whose presence would add to Newcastle’s cache as the state’s second city.

 

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5289466/attracting-investment-to-our-revitalised-city/?cs=308

mine visit

GET up close to a working mine with the Singleton Community Day mine tours on Saturday, April 7.

The free tours are being offered by Glencore, Yancoal and Bloomfield/Rix’s Creek as part of the Hunter Coal Festival.

The tours offer a rare opportunity for people to see a mine in operation with expert commentary and explanations from mine employees.

Buses will leave from Albion Park, Bathurst Street, Singleton, at 9am, 9.30am, 10am and noon and each tour will last about two hours.

Organisers have advised the schedule could change depending on demand.

Participants can choose from three mine sites – Bloomfield’s Rix’s Creek, Yancoal’s Mount Thorley Warkworth and Glencore’s Bulga Mine.

The tours are free but must be booked in advance through the festival’s website at huntercoalfestival.org.au in the Mine Tours section.

The tours will not operate if there is inclement weather and all site visitors must wear enclosed shoes.

Children must meet the legal age requirement for seatbelts and people under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be allowed on the buses or mine sites.

 

Source: https://www.huntervalleynews.net.au/story/5287852/rare-opportunity-to-see-a-mine-in-action/

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20 years ago, you probably would’ve laughed if someone said your life would one day be irrevocably changed by a company called Google. What’s a google?

But, as you know, Google’s become the largest entity in one of the biggest tech companies in the world. And it’s giving you a glimpse inside its robust research on what makes a great manager.

It’s no secret that being a good manager can make all the difference in how happy your team is and how well it performs. Google not only proved this to skeptics years ago, but also identified eight (later updated to 10) behaviours of its best managers. So why not learn from one of the most successful data-driven companies out there?

1. “Is a Good Coach”

Employees need and appreciate a manager who takes time to coach and challenge them, and not just when they’re behind.

As Muse contributor Avery Augustine put it, “When it comes to clients, the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease.” The same is true, she said, of employees you manage.

But “I realized that every employee needs to be managed—star performer or not,” she wrote. “And simply leaving some employees to do their jobs without any type of feedback or guidance was detrimental to their career development.”

2. “Empowers Team and Does Not Micromanage”

Micromanaging’s a common mistake managers make without even realizing it, one that discourages and frustrates employees.

But Google’s research found that its best managers don’t, instead offering the right balance of freedom and advice, showing they trust their direct reports, and advocating for the team, according to a sample breakdown from an internal presentation included in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article.

3. “Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-Being”
In the first iteration of the list, this was described as “expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.”

Several years later, the company’s updated this entry to reflect research on psychological safety that allows for risk-taking—which Google identified as an important characteristic of effective teams—and unbiasing, or the process of becoming aware of and combatting unconscious biases.

It’s not enough just to have a diverse team, good leaders and managers strive to create an inclusive environment every day.

4. “Is Productive and Results-Oriented”

Employees don’t want to work for a lazy boss. They’d rather be part of a team that’s productive and successful, and that’s hard to do if the leader doesn’t set the tone.

Former Muse editor Adrian Granzella Larssen explained that becoming a boss means you have to be on model behavior.

“As a manager, you’ll be looked to as a role model,” she wrote. “You can’t expect people to give their best at work if they don’t see you doing it, so be sure you’re always on your A game.” That means putting in the effort and getting results.

5. “Is a Good Communicator—Listens and Shares Information”

Communicating effectively is one of the basics of being a good manager (or a good employee for that matter). But it’s also important to remember that great managers prioritize listening.

“Focused, curious listening conveys an emotional and personal investment in those who work for us,” according to Muse contributor Kristi Hedges. “When you listen to people, they feel personally valued. It signals commitment.”

6. “Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance”

Google recently added the “discusses performance” component to this behaviour. The company pointed to research from Gallup that found only half of employees know what expectations they should be fulfilling at work.

“To free employees to take initiative and inspire high performance,” Gallup concluded, “managers need to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable for meeting them and respond quickly when employees need support.”

In other words, managers should not only help their team develop skills and advance their careers, but also be clear about expectations and give honest feedback about performance.

7. “Has a Clear Vision/Strategy for the Team”

Stephanie Davis, who won one of Google’s Great Manager Awards, told HBR that feedback reports helped her realize how important it was to communicate team vision in addition to company vision.

“They wanted me to interpret the higher-level vision for them,” she said. “So I started listening to the company’s earnings call with a different ear. I didn’t just come back to my team with what was said; I also shared what it meant for them.”

A clear and shared vision can also help members of your team work well together.

 

8. “Has Key Technical Skills to Help Advise the Team”

When Google first released its list of behaviors, the findings were somewhat anti-climactic. “My first reaction was, that’s it?” Laszlo Bock, then the Vice President of People Operations, told The New York Times in 2011.

The entries on the list may’ve been obvious, but their relative importance wasn’t, as Bock’s team found out when it ranked the behaviours.

“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” he said. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison.”

So all hope isn’t lost if you find yourself managing people who know more than you.

9. “Collaborates Across Google”

Google recently extended its list by two when its employee survey found that effective cross-organization collaboration and stronger decision-making were important to Googlers.

Whether you’re at a large corporation, an early-stage startup, or a nonprofit, managing your team and leading it to success can depend at least in part on how well you can work with other teams.

Muse contributor Rebecca Andruszka gave some tips for improving communication with other departments for “the collective betterment of the company” (and, as she wrote, to avoid feeling like you work in Congress).

10. “Is a Strong Decision Maker”

Google’s last addition is a reminder that while it’s important for a manager to listen and share information, employees also appreciate one who can make decisions.

Muse Founder and President Alex Cavoulacos urged managers to go one step further and tell their teams not only what decision they’ve made, but also why they’ve made it. The small extra effort helps the team understand context and priorities, improve their own future decision-making, and stay engaged as well as informed.

One of the reasons this research was so effective was that it used internal data to prove what makes managers great at Google (and the company’s re:Work website provides some first steps for others who want to try to replicate its approach).

But that doesn’t mean the list isn’t helpful for people who don’t work there. After all, Google did go from being a made-up word to a household name in just a few years. People and companies now look to it as an example, not only in innovation, but also in its approach to management.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-behaviors-make-great-google-manager?ref=recently-published-2

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The Newcastle Permanent is marking 115 years in business. To the uninitiated, give us a snapshot of how it began?

Newcastle Permanent began in 1903 when a group of hardworking people who couldn’t get a home loan from the banks—because they weren’t wealthy—created a cooperative building society. They put their savings together to help everyone in the cooperative access a home loan and eventually everyone did. Fast forward 115 years and this is still the ethos of what we do today – helping people buy their own home.

The biggest milestones for the bank to date?

We now have more than $10 billion in assets and last financial year our loan growth exceeded that of the major banks. This asset portfolio makes us the largest customer-owned financial institution in NSW and the second-largest in Australia.

How many members do you have and what shape is the business in?

We have more than 320,000 customers predominantly in northern and central west NSW with strong growth in Sydney. We are the financially strongest customer-owned banking institution in Australia in terms of net assets.

The toughest moments for the building society in the past decade?

A stand out is the Global Financial Crisis. While Australia weathered the GFC storm relatively well, our government cooperated with an international banking regulatory framework to provide further protections for the global banking industry. This resulted in significant regulatory reform and oversight for Australian financial services operators. Add to this the need to respond to rapidly changing customer preferences for digital banking and it has certainly been an interesting decade.

And biggest highlight?

Reaching $10 billion in assets had been such an achievement, and for a business based right here in the Hunter!

The Royal Commission into Misconduct into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has started and the big four are in the firing line. Will Newcastle Permanent make a submission?

It’s only early days, but at this stage is does not appear that we’ll be asked to participate in the Royal Commission.

Will the findings of the commission, due in 2018, affect your operations?

The Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission are quite broad and inquire into banking, superannuation, and the financial services industry. At the moment it is not really possible to predict what the outcomes and timings of the Royal Commission’s recommendations will be. However, it’s reasonable to expect there’ll be changes that will affect the entire industry, including Newcastle Permanent.

How can the Perm compete with the big four?

Our business model is different because we’re customer-owned. We don’t distribute profits to shareholders (because we don’t have shareholders), but instead reinvest our profits into the business to benefit our customers and their communities by keeping our loan and deposit rates very competitive.

What is the Perm doing via its Charitable Foundation that has a real impact?

This year the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is also celebrating a milestone, marking 15 years of supporting our community. In this time the Foundation has provided more than $17.5 million to more than 420 life-changing and community initiatives.

Why is there nostalgia for the Perm in the Hunter?

The fact that we are often called “the Perm” says a lot! I think it’s the simple fact that we’ve always been here. Our head office is in the CBD, we employ almost 1,000 staff, we’re active in supporting our community, and at some stage of their life most Novocastrians have had a bank account with us. We’re intrinsically tied to the memories and lives of Novocastrians.

The Perm has had memorable ad campaigns, but did you expect the Sunshine Over My Shoulder song, created by local business The Proverbials, to become so loved?

We knew the 2012 ad campaign was special; majestically showcasing our region and how lucky we are that we can serve our region. But we never thought in our wildest dreams that the song would resonate so well and become a wedding song!

You worked at one of the big four before the Perm. How do the two differ?

At a big four all your work is devoted to lining the pockets of shareholders. At Newcastle Permanent, we’re all about people. Our mission statement is we are “Here for good” and that means for our customers, our people, the community, and the long term. This was a pleasant culture change coming from a big four where the community wasn’t even a consideration!

What innovation is ahead for the Perm?

Our customers are rapidly shifting their preferences to online banking. I think the last time our industry saw such a shake-up was when computers became the norm more than 30 years ago. We’re working towards a time where our customers, if they wish, will not need to visit a branch to do any of their banking—and that day isn’t too far away.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5247429/a-permanent-fixture/

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So, you’ve got a gap in your resume? Maybe you decided to travel, or go back to school, or maybe you looked after a sick relative, or you took time out to be a parent yourself. Whatever the reason, you’re probably feeling like your job hunt is going to be that much harder. Surely any recruiter looking at your resume is going to run a mile away.

Not necessarily.

Most employers nowadays recognize that it’s rare for anyone to stay with just one or two companies for their whole career. Plus, job security isn’t what it used to be (unfortunately).

As a recruiter, I’ve interviewed my fair share of candidates, and if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this. Think about how to present your gap. With a little foresight, you can turn a potentially tricky interview situation into a masterclass in personal branding.

1. So, You Lost Your Job
Some people find it embarrassing to talk about being laid off, but it’s unlikely to elicit anything but sympathy from your interviewer. It’s fairly commonplace these days. Just remember not to badmouth your past company or boss. Instead, focus your response on all the positive things you achieved while you were there.

Don’t Say
“That #!&$! company had it in for me from day one. I probably would’ve left anyway.”

Do Say
“Unfortunately, the company had to implement some budget cuts and, due to their ‘last-in, first-out’ policy, I was made redundant. However, I’m proud of what I achieved during my time there, something which can be reinforced by my previous manager, who’s one of my referees.”

2. So, You Quit Your Job and Traveled the World
The key with this one is to focus on how traveling contributed to your personal development, rather than how much fun you had schlepping around the world with nothing but a backpack and a smile. If you took on any paid or volunteer work during this time, concentrate your response on the additional personal and professional skills it’s given you.

Don’t Say
“Well let’s face it, partying in Thailand is a lot more fun than going to work. I’m pretty sure I had an awesome time, but I can’t actually remember most of it.”

Do Say
“I spent a number of years working at a company in a very demanding job, in which–as you’ll see from my references–I was very successful. But I’d reached a stage in my career where I wanted to focus on my personal growth. The time I spent traveling taught me a lot about how to get along with people of all ages and cultures. Now I feel more than ready to jump back into my career with renewed energy and focus and I feel this role is the ideal way to do that.”

3. So, You Went Back to School
This is perhaps the easiest one to explain. Particularly if what you did is relevant to your chosen career. Even if not, it’s easy to put positive spin on something that requires a certain level of intelligence and hard work.

Don’t say
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I stayed in school rather than getting a job. I am still uncertain if this career path is right for me.”

Do Say
“I wanted to expand my career options by completing some training/getting a qualification in x. Now that I’ve achieved my educational goals, I’m looking forward to using my qualifications to benefit the company I work for. This role is the perfect way for me to do that because…”

4. So, You Took Time Off for Health Reasons
Brevity’s key here. The interviewer won’t expect (or want) you to go into painstaking detail about an attack of depression or a serious back operation. Prepare a straightforward explanation that you’re comfortable sharing. Mention how proud you are that you were able to overcome your health problems and then move the conversation swiftly into the present day by discussing the relevant skills you have to offer this company.

Don’t Say
“Whoa, yeah, things were pretty bad there for a while..”

Do Say
“I went through a tough time emotionally/physically due to… and I took some time out to concentrate on getting better, so I could get back to work as quickly as possible. I’m pleased that I overcame that challenge because it’s made me a stronger person but now I’m fully recovered and ready to focus on the next stage of my career.”

5. So, You Had to Take Care of Your Family
Remember, caring for the sick or elderly and raising a family are tough jobs that require a huge range of skills, which you now have in abundance. No interviewer should make you feel like your decision to prioritize family over career reflects badly on you.

If you had time to keep your skills and industry knowledge up to date, make sure you mention this. End the discussion by telling the interviewer that you’re excited to recommit yourself to your career. And remember, any company worth your time and effort should recognize what an all-round superhero you clearly are.

Don’t Say
“I live the closest to my mom so I drew the short straw in having to take care of her. I just couldn’t handle looking after her and holding down a job!”

Do Say
“After a lot of thought, I decided that my top priority was my child/elderly parent/sick spouse. However, I made sure to keep my professional skills up to date during that time. Now I’m in a position to refocus on my career and I’m looking forward to utilizing all the additional soft skills I’ve learnt.”

Lastly, remember that lying on your resume or in interview is a really bad idea. When you’re asked about a gap in your employment, take a deep breath and acknowledge the interviewer’s concern. Stay composed and don’t get defensive: it will reassure the interviewer that you’re confident and comfortable with your reasons so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/explain-resume-gap-interview-right-way?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

Cessnock youth off street

Young people in Kurri Kurri and surrounding areas now have a place to meet new friends, get help with school work and seek information on a range of services.

Youth Off The Streets’ Hunter Valley Outreach has officially opened its drop-in centre at 35 Station Street, Weston.

The drop-in centre is located next door to the service’s former premises, which had room for office space and not much else.

Hunter Valley Outreach manager Kim Lenard said it was a goal of hers to move into the bigger space since she started with the service eight months ago.

“The young people are pretty excited to have somewhere extra to go,” she said.

The drop-in centre will operate on weekday afternoons, and Ms Lenard said she hopes other community organisations will be able to use the space earlier in the day.

Along with office space for Ms Lenard and her three staff, the new site has games tables, books and space for young people to socialise.

Youth Off The Streets’ director of outreach services Ranna Peera said while its outreach programs are mainly focused on visiting areas where youth already congregate (such as skate parks), the drop-in centre provides young people with an added option to access its services.

“It’s not a typical thing for us, but we have trialled it, and it has worked,” she said.

“It’s an added option that could be of great benefit for young people.”

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson conducted the official opening on Thursday afternoon.

Ms Swanson – who grew up in Heddon Greta – said the drop-in centre could make a difference in the lives of local youth.

“I know what it feels like to be a kid from a town where there’s not a lot to do sometimes,” she said.

“There’s no beach on your doorstep, and limited public transport options, so it’s great that we we have things here for young people to do.

“It could be that intersection in the road where they come along and have that conversation that could put them on a different path.”

The Weston drop-in centre will be open weekdays, with structured activities for under-12s on Tuesdays (3.30pm to 6pm); homework help and tutoring on Wednesdays (3.30pm to 4.30pm) and over-12s’ activities on Thursdays (3.30pm to 6pm).

Hunter Valley Outreach also run programs at East Cessnock Skate Park on Monday afternoons from 3.30pm to 6.30pm, and Kurri Skate Park on Friday nights from 5.30pm to 9pm.

Source: https://www.cessnockadvertiser.com.au/story/5246220/youth-drop-in-centre-opens-in-weston-photos/

 

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You know the feeling. You’ve been selling for a few years, you’re regularly hitting your numbers, and you think you’re ready for a promotion. But sales is a labour-intensive job. The day-to-day stress can be deflating, and most of the time, it takes everything you’ve got just to meet your goal.

So, how do you get to the next level without taking your foot off the revenue pedal? Not by working an extra three hours every day—that’s only going to burn you out. Instead, do a few little things every day to flex your leadership muscles and still meet goals.

Here are five smalls tasks to incorporate into your daily workflow to build towards a promotion. And remember, it’s not about getting the position, it’s about becoming the person who deserves the position.

1. Help Your Colleagues
You might not have the title of sales leader, but by helping your co-workers you can start being a leader on your floor today. After all, a title won’t make people follow you, their trust and belief in you will—and you don’t need a title to build that.

New reps always need help when they start. Ask if you can help them ramp up and find success. It might be as simple as telling them how to access certain software or letting a new rep listen to a few of your calls. Or, offer to do a few ride-alongs.

When you have small talk with co-workers, ask them how they’re doing and really listen to their response. Then, ask to help.

A few months ago, I noticed a recently promoted colleague struggling to perform. We decided to review a few call recordings and see if we could identify gaps. Turns out, an hour of my time was enough to kick his performance into high gear.

2. Stop Eating Alone
If you’re like me, you’re glued to your computer and phone most of the day, spilling lunch on your keyboard and slurping down quick mugs of coffee on your way back from the kitchen.

Instead of staring at your screen for 10 straight hours, use lunch or coffee breaks to network. If you sell for a company with multiple sales teams, meet with reps and leadership in other teams to learn what their segments are experiencing.

Learn how they made it to where they are today. What was their first job? Did they attend any special trainings or classes? What was their big break, and what did they do once they got there? Pick someone who’s career you’d like to emulate and ask them what steps you should take to achieve the same type of growth.

3. Understand the Skills You Need
And find out how to get them. Be honest with yourself—you’ll need to know how to do more than hit an individual quota when it comes to managing a team.

If you’re a great salesperson but don’t know how to interview people, ask your boss, “If I hit 115% of goal, can I sit in on your next interview call?”

Have hiring down but need to be better at running efficient meetings? Ask for the opportunity to run your team’s weekly call review if you exceed next month’s goal. Need to work on one-on-one coaching? Ask if you can mentor someone on the sales team.

It might be hard in the beginning, but telling your boss you’d rather receive these opportunities than a bonus will show how serious you are about making it to the next level.

4. Solve a Problem
To find growth opportunities, look for company or team gaps and fill them. Is there a communication gap between sales and marketing? Find out how to fix it. Does your company have a major initiative coming up? Get ahead by solving potential pain points.

I knew someone who kept getting crushed by competitors when he was a sales rep. He was selling software that was difficult to install, and his competitors beat him every time because they had partnerships with software implementation specialists.

Instead of taking this problem to his boss and complaining, he made his own deal with an implementation company and started winning business—a lot of business.

His company took notice of the increased volume and asked for his secret. When he told them what he’d been doing, they decided to scale his partnership framework and put him in charge.

5. Always Be Learning
Leadership requires a broad skill set, and reading gives you the alternative strategies you need to excel in your daily work. If you’re not reading sales books and blogs, you should be.

Think you don’t have time? Load up on sales and leadership podcasts or audiobooks on your commute or while you’re cooking dinner.

And, if your company offers class reimbursement, take advantage and enroll in local or online seminars.

Lastly, regularly attend meetups or other networking events in your city. You can learn as much from other people facing similar challenges as you can from the pages of a book.

It’s one thing to want a promotion and another thing to work for one. Start by incorporating these five strategies into your workflow, and see your manager and co-workers take notice.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-get-a-promotion-in-sales?ref=recently-published-0

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Young classical musicians will be performing at events across the Hunter thanks to a new support program.

The money comes from Newcastle City Council’s Support for Arts and Cultural Organisations program.

The Newcastle Youth Orchestra (NYO), Catapult Dance and The Lock-Up were announced as the first recipients for the funding.

“The project based funding is designed to support the growth and vitality of Newcastle’s arts and cultural,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

NYO’s project includes over a dozen public performances over the course of its two-year grant period, professional development opportunities for its musicians, expanding its performances beyond Newcastle to Singleton and the Central Coast, and the purchase of new music.

Orchestra Manager Sally Ebert said the organisation was grateful for the opportunity.

“NYO is a relatively new organisation, we’re entering our sixth year, and this support will help us take our performances to the next level and cement our reputation in the region,” Ms Ebert said.

While the first round projects are getting underway, other Newcastle based arts and cultural organisations are invited to apply for the second round of funding, with expressions of interest now open.

The next round of funding will be allocated to two eligible organisations for projects to commence in the 2018-19 financial year. A total of $100,000 is available, subject to final adoption of council’s annual budget for 2018-19. An organisation may apply for up to $70,000 per year for up to three years.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5231313/new-funding-for-arts-and-theatre-across-the-newcastle-area/

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I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?

 

Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/stand-out-against-tough-job-search-competition

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NEWCASTLE could become Australia’s answer to Nashville if Mick Starkey and the city’s tourism chiefs can bring their dream for the city’s nightlife to reality.

Mr Starkey, the operator of the Stag & Hunter in Mayfield, is pushing a bold plan to bring together the pieces of the city’s music scene into a unified attraction that can drive tourism into the city.

Rather than focusing entirely on offering acts places to play, Mr Starkey said he wanted to make the city a place for musicians to develop, live, record and prosper – in turn boosting the economy. His vision has garnered backing from the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group.

Chairman Gus Maher said making the city a cradle of creativity had broad appeal. “Both young and more mature travellers participate in the arts, which live music typifies,” Mr Maher said.

“They will stay overnight, eat, drink and spend in local venues – all of which contributes to economic development and jobs.”

Mr Starkey pointed to storied music cities like the country music capital and New Orleans as examples where “people travel the world to go there”, saying many of the raw materials already exist in the city.

He said he was hopeful the NTIG backing would help the idea spread. “There’s many spokes in this wheel and they can be the group to bring it together,” he said.

“We’ve got some amazing talent that isn’t being seen,” he said. “There’s all these ancillary industries too, we’ve got a number of studios that are doing amazing things.”

“Whilst it currently exists on a smaller scale, I want us to be recognised internationally and not only draw people from Newcastle, Sydney and NSW but from around the world.”

Mr Starkey said he wanted to form a working group and lobby MPs to create a new story around the city’s nightlife that would attract visitors. “For 10 years it’s been touted as a bloodbath,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily about trading hours, I think it’s about messaging, saying that we are a great and artistic area.”

While he conceded building the reputation would be a “slow-burn”, he said the benefits would branch out far beyond the music scene.

“People talk about how great Newcastle was in the ’80s and fostering these great bands … times have changed but we want to encourage that,” he said.

“If collectively we are marketed in a way for people who come to see live music and original music, there’s going to be benefits to that.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5203408/push-to-make-newcastle-australias-answer-to-nashville/

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Let’s be clear: It’s innovate or die out there.

Ideas are the currency that buys you a starring role in today’s workplace. But too many people prioritize ownership over adoption, and watch their ideas waste away as a result. Truth is, you’ll be more effective if you work collaboratively with a team to turn ideas into action.

Here’s why you should ditch the old ideation silo and give your best thoughts to the group.

 

Team Buy-In Makes Things Happen
Ideas are often the prelude to change, and change generally rubs people the wrong way. So, how to get around the very human—but avoidable—friction that comes from shaking things up? Go out of your way to gain your team’s buy-in on the things that may affect them.

Especially if you’re a manager, inclusive decision-making may not only get you a better outcome by melding more minds during the ideation and decision-making processes, it ensures that the team understands the motives and considerations behind new ways of working. Ultimately that means less pushback, a deeper awareness about what led to decisions in the first place, and a more evenly distributed stake in the outcome.

Whether or not you’re a manager, this is a good way to conquer any resistance to change.

 

Tap Into a More Diverse Range of Opinions
A team brainstorm may be no better than a private one if everyone in the group thinks the same way. You need to mix it up.

Study after study has shown that diverse groups—gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, age, etc.—produce better ideas and make better decisions. Cloverpop, a company that tracks companies’ decisions to help them manage the decision-making process, found in a two-year study that gender-mixed teams comprising a wide range of ages and geographic representations made better decisions than homogeneous teams 87 percent of the time.

Makes sense. People with different backgrounds have different outlooks, motivations and experiences that shape their contributions at work. Hearing their voices and ideas produces a more well-rounded exchange of thoughts vetted by a wider variety of perspectives.

You may have to do some work to get a good mix of people in the room, but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, don’t discount less obvious diversity factors, like years of experience and time at your company.

 

See How Ideas Hold Up Against Messy Human Stuff
We’re all human, and regardless of race or gender or any of the other factors above, we’re simply wired differently.

For example, think about Myers-Briggs psychological types. People have different ways of perceiving and interpreting information, different thought patterns and emotional reflexes. The idealists on your team will have different ideas than the cynics. The process-oriented people will see things differently from the gut-driven types.

Working through ideas with a mix of personalities will help you find middle ground and flesh out a plan of action that works for everyone.

 

Test Your Assumptions
Idea sharing can be a valuable vetting exercise if everyone’s encouraged to speak candidly. Ask people to poke holes in your logic, to prove why your proposal won’t work, and to name every single thing that could possibly go wrong. The harder to tear down, the better the idea. Use the feedback to reformulate your idea until you’ve patched the flaws.

If you’re a team lead, this is even more critical. Sometimes you have to design new ways of working but you’re not the best person to do so because you’re not the closest to the facts on the ground—the people who work for you are. They can probably see the peril that lurks in a new idea right off the bat, and they’ll respect you more for recognizing that and hearing what they have to say.

 

Turn Ideas Into Action
In some ways, the idea is the easy part. The real challenge is executing.

If you think of ideas not as inventions that come out of thin air but as innovative solutions to complex problems, you and your team will have a better foundation for brainstorming.

And in the end, you’ll have a much easier time activating ideas if they’re vetted by a diverse group willing to provide constructive criticism, even if it means swallowing some pride and surrendering credit for the outcome.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-your-next-big-idea-should-come-from-a-team?ref=recently-published-2

Serving the region’s needs

Posted by | January 28, 2018 | Community

Maitland private

With a continued commitment to investing in private health care services in the greater Hunter Region; Maitland Private Hospital, a member of the Healthe Care Group, has introduced a new ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) service to the region, capitalising on recent investments in state-of-the-art surgical theatres and equipment.

Maitland Private Hospital CEO, Sue Ellen Blomfield, believes that the introduction of the new specialists is a win for the residents of the Maitland and Greater Hunter region.

“By investing in such equipment and advanced surgical theatres we can attract the best surgeons to our region. This means that Hunter residents no longer need to travel to Sydney or further afield to access the very best care available.

“The demand for ENT services in the greater Hunter region is clear, with many ENT specialists having excessive waiting periods, for both consultations and procedures. The addition of five new ENT Specialists to the area has already begun to alleviate these excessive wait times.

“With 156 beds, six operating theatres, new day surgery unit, and plans to expand further, we are actively engaging with the community to ensure we focus investment on servicing identified needs within our region.”

Surgeries ranging from tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and grommets to advanced airway reconstructions, otology, rhinology and laryngology are just a few of the ENT procedures performed at Maitland Private Hospital.

Patients wishing to book a consultation can be seen by a specialist within a fortnight, and their surgery performed within a month.

Source: http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5157354/serving-the-regions-needs/

 

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Newcastle business owners looking for compensation to reduce the impact of light rail construction have instead been offered advice and assistance from a service that’s already available to businesses across NSW.

It was NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs’ main offer of help to more than 120 business people she addressed in Newcastle on Wednesday at an emotionally-charged meeting that ended with shouting from the floor. Ms Hobbs also offered to be part of a new working group to help businesses in the coming months and said Newcastle traders that required mediation wouldn’t face the $750 fee that the final stage usually costs.

 But several CBD business owners spoke of the hardship that they and their neighbours had faced since construction had closed large sections of Hunter Street. They called for better access, compensation and a greater effort to draw people back into the city.

Paul Murphy, who owns Churchills Carpet Court, argued that the state government should make low-interest loans or grants available to businesses, similar to what was offered in the wake of the 1989 earthquake. Traffic engineer Ron Brown said the difficulties people currently faced driving into the city was “a big obstacle”.

Ms Hobbs said the situation in Sydney, where the government was granting rent relief to businesses in the light rail construction zone because of delays, was different from the Hunter’s situation.

While she was “not ruling out” advocating for a grant, loan or compensation program for Newcastle businesses, she cautioned that extensive investigations would have to take place before she would approach NSW Treasury.

“I appreciate the fact that you believe you are going through a disrupted period in your lives – and you are,” she said. “One of the difficult things is you have to live through it.”

Ms Hobbs said business owners were entitled to four free consultations with Business Connect, a support service available across NSW that can help sort out cash-flow problems, give social media advice, provide mediation and contact landlords on behalf of business owners.

Late in the meeting when Ms Hobbs was referring to the expected benefits light rail would bring to the city, an audience member yelled: “if we’re still here”.

Another attendee followed: “Newcastle businesses will be doing great when it’s all done, but they’ll be different businesses”.

Hunter Development Corporation CEO and Revitalising Newcastle project manager Michael Cassel also took questions and gave an update on the progress of the light rail project.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the issue of assistance for businesses was “unresolved and something we are going to have to work on”.

Mr Hawes and executive manager of business advocacy group Newcastle Now Michael Neilson – whose groups organised the meeting at the suggestion of Ms Hobbs’ office – both said the key to getting through the difficult period was working together and “looking forward, not looking back”.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Hawes said “there was a lot of emotion in the room” and business owners had delivered a clear message.

Call for access, not more advertising

If you ask Bernie Hockings, easing the pain of light rail construction for city businesses isn’t about getting the job done quicker – it’s about doing it “better”.

Mr Hockings, who owns Metro Cycles, was one of several frustrated business owners who made their feelings clear to NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs at a meeting on Wednesday. His comments came after Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel assured the gathering that the job was being completed as quickly as possible.

Mr Hockings dismissed suggestions from the crowd that loans or grants should be available to affected businesses – he said improving access to businesses should be the top priority.

“I don’t want more advertising, I want access. Do it better, not faster,” he said. “If you paid me to get out of my lease and out of the city, I would.”

He told the Herald he had been hesitant to speak up because when he had in the past, internet trolls targeted his business’ Facebook page.

 

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5186506/if-were-still-here-newcastle-traders-tell-small-business-commissioner-of-plight/

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Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.

 

1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.

 

4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.

 

5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.

 

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/career-ruts-everyone-will-get-into-some-point?ref=recently-published-1

 

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The man in charge of rolling out Newcastle’s new bus network says it will be a “quantum step up” for commuters in the city.

Mark Dunlop took over from Keolis Downer Hunter chief executive Campbell Mason in December after 33 years in South Australia’s public transport system.

On Sunday, he will take the wheel as Keolis Downer’s Newcastle Transport launches an overhaul of bus routes and timetables six months after the state government privatised the network.

Mr Dunlop, who moved to Newcastle in September, said his team had drawn on customer and driver feedback, Opal data and the company’s Australian and international experience to devise the network.

“Overall, from what I’ve looked at this network, I’m very confident that the package overall is a quantum step up,” he said.

“The network here hasn’t changed since 2008, and, whilst I haven’t been in Newcastle for that long, but with any community the dynamics and geography and social parameters change over that time.

“Something that traditionally ran down the street in 1953 is going to change.

“Yes, will there be issues? Will there be people trying to work through it? It’s a big change. We understand that. We understand it can be daunting.”

Some commuters have complained about losing direct bus services to the CBD and other key destinations, such as shopping centres.

Mr Dunlop said the new network was based on routes feeding into “spines” of high-frequency services, which would require more transfers for some commuters.

“It’s all about high-frequency routes and feeding into those and giving more travel options. There are people who will have to change a bus, but that’s all been built in and timetabled.

“It’s not hop off a bus and wait 20 minutes.

“It’s all been timetabled to connect and you’re on a spine that’s with a 15-minute frequency.

“Our operations team and designers have worked hard to make sure that all meshes together.”

The company, which also runs bus networks in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, has drawn flak from Newcastle commuters and the government for underpaying drivers and cancelling services.

The Newcastle Herald reported this week that on-time running statistics for buses had deteriorated in the three months after Keolis Downer took over, a problem the company attributed to “Supercars, school formals and King Street congestion”.

Mr Dunlop would not disclose the firm’s targets for increased patronage on the new network but was confident the timetables had been “appropriately timed to real conditions”.

“I think all of us have to acknowledge what everyone’s been dealing with in traversing Newcastle,” he said. “That’s a matter of life, but the new network has taken that into account.”

He said the company would continue to adapt the network based on customer feedback.

Keolis Downer will have “travel concierges” and pink-shirted customer service staff on board buses and ferries from Sunday to help commuters.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5164294/keolis-downer-says-bus-changes-big-step-ahead-for-newcastle/

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Worried what your boss thinks of you—if they like you, trust you, and think your contributions match up to their expectations?

If so, you’re not alone. Considering you’ll end up spending 10 years of your life at work, getting along with your boss is not only critical to succeeding in your career, but matters for your overall happiness and engagement at the office.

With that in mind, here are three easy ways to develop an effective, productive, and mutually rewarding relationship with your manager (even if they’re a tough cookie to crack):

1. Stop Using Email to Have Important Conversations
Is email your go-to forum for everything? In certain cases, it could be hurting your relationship. Even if it’s your manager’s favorite medium, it’s time to break the pattern of always relying on this.

Opt for in-person meetings if the conversation’s beyond a task or agenda-setting item—for example, if you’re asking for something or apologizing for a mistake. Not only is it just polite, it’ll most likely lead to a more productive discussion and help ensure you and your boss are truly on the same page.

“All of us are the worst possible version of ourselves in digital media,” adds Celeste Headlee, journalist and author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. “We might think we are persuasive in email, but scientifically, we are so much more persuasive in person.”

2. See Your Relationship With Your Boss as a Two-Way Street
Too often, we see ourselves as the executors and our managers as the creators of work, forgetting that our manager is also responsible for their own assignments.

So, if you want to immediately improve your relationship, ask them this simple question: “What can I do for you?” By opening up this conversation, you open the door for them to delegate projects they may not have otherwise considered. And, taking on stretch assignments can improve your visibility and lead to career advancement.

3. Be a Good Recipient of Feedback (and Ask Pointed Questions)

Get in the mindset that you want actual, honest feedback—and be physically ready for it.
Even if the feedback seems insensitive, kindly explain how the approach hurt your feelings, but then ask questions to get at the root of the problem, making it clear you really do want to improve. If you’re a good feedback recipient, your boss will be more likely to share valuable advice with you, which will ultimately help you grow.

And, if you’re finding that you only getting positive feedback, ask your manager to be more specific, or try mentioning something you wish you’d handled differently.

“If you open a dialogue with self-reflection, you give your boss—who might be uncomfortable giving you criticism—the opportunity to go on the learning journey with you,” advises Denise Cox, VP of Technical Services at Cisco Systems.

Finally, don’t wait for periodic reviews to get constructive feedback. If you can, ask your manager to schedule time to meet one-on-one weekly or monthly.

Research by Gallup shows that 50% of employees leave their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career,” which means building the right kind of relationship with your boss can make a real difference to your job satisfaction and career progression. Plus, it’ll make your friends and family find you much more enjoyable to be around outside of work.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-creating-productive-relationship-boss?ref=recently-published-0

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Newcastle City Council has welcomed a $5 million Australian Government grant to deploy digital technology to make it easier to move around the city and run it more efficiently.

The Smart Move Newcastle project, part of Council’s Smart City vision, will integrate digital technology in vehicles and infrastructure to deliver a more convenient multi-modal transport system and yield productivity and energy efficiency gains.

In addition to the $5 million contribution, Newcastle City Council together with partners will contribute $10 million. Key city partners include Keolis Downer, the University of Newcastle, Eighteen04, CSIRO and RDA Hunter.

The federal funding will support a range of initiatives including:
• A pilot electric vehicle hub on the city fringe with chargers for electric cars and e-bikes for hire
• On-demand bus transport offering a more personalised service
• Autonomous vehicle trials
• Bus stops with technology to provide users with real-time information, such as when the next bus is due and how many seats are available
• Roads and intersections with real-time traffic analysis to give emergency vehicles green lights and commuters a heads up on traffic jams
• Inroad sensors to provide data on parking availability via apps
• Sensors in buildings to monitor and manage energy use and provide business insights
• Cameras in smart light poles to analyse cloud coverage and estimate solar energy production

The announcement follows the NSW Government’s $10 million commitment to the $17.8 million Hunter Innovation Project (HIP) in September last year.

The HIP is now delivering smart city infrastructure throughout Newcastle’s CBD and will establish an innovation hub for researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to commercialise ideas and promote economic development.

Source: http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/smart-city-funding-for-newcastle-2603

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The prospect of returning to work after years away from my career was daunting. I faced a host of challenges: a lack of recent and relevant experience, outdated corporate skills, and uncertainty about my Baby Boomer place in a Millennial-focused world.

I still thought, however, based upon my early career success and an advanced degree in my field, that I’d get a great offer in no time. It didn’t happen. My strategy—jumping into a role that was the wrong fit (and later leaving), followed by picking up consulting gigs here and there and then trying to explain it all in a resume with gaps and changes—was failing. I needed a strategic shift.

So I changed everything, from how I was approaching the job search process to my end goal. As a result, I applied for and landed a returnship, with Goldman Sachs. (If you’ve never heard of it, a returnship is an internship for people returning to the workforce.) It enabled me to add current and substantive experience to my resume, and reset my career path so I could once again move forward.

Here are the six most important lessons I learned in my quest to get back on track.

1. Update Your Online Presence
Being a somewhat tech-savvy boomer, I had a LinkedIn profile.

But too many people have ones that are lackluster or outdated. If that’s you, place this at the top of your to-do list. Both recruiters and hiring managers use the site to find and screen candidates.

I left off dates for my degrees to minimize age bias, and truncated my experience to the past 10 to 15 years (I recommend you do the same!).

2. Network—Always
You may think that networking is just for young professionals who need to meet new people. That’s simply not true. It’s beneficial regardless of your age.

For example, I had a friend put in a good word for me, and I know that helped me to be considered for the role at Goldman.

Here are four things you should start doing (if you’re not already):

Periodically touch base with professional contacts. Be memorable by sending a personal note and an interesting article once a month.
Let the other person know that you respect their time by being specific when you have an “ask.” Say (or write): “I’d really appreciate your perspective—can we speak/meet for 15 minutes?” And then stick with that time commitment.
Extend your network. Ask your contacts to connect you with their contacts.
Follow-up with a thank you note, every time. Take it to the next level by offering to be of help if they ever need your perspective or expertise.

3. Make it Easy for People to Help You
If you’re asking someone to refer you, give them everything they need, so they can simply send along your details.

So, if you’re applying to a role at their company, this includes the job name, job number, your resume, and bullets outlining what skills and experience you’d bring that match the requirements for the role.

People are busy, and so if you give them a complete email they can simply forward, it’s a lot more likely it’ll get passed on.

4. Refine Your Elevator Pitch
When you’ve had a lot of experience, it’s important (though often hard) to be clear about your objectives.

What are your areas of expertise?

What type of role are you looking for?

It’ll be tempting to rattle off everything you’ve done in the past, or say, “I can really do anything.” But a long speech can be overwhelming for listeners—and can make you look overqualified—and unfocused. So, cut it down and zero in on one thing you want the other person to come away with. My rule of thumb is that it should be no longer than 30 seconds.

5. Practice Self-Care
Unreturned emails, closed doors, and rejection all sting. But, it happens to pretty much everyone, especially when you’re outside the “sweet spot” of hiring prospects.

There’ll be surprises for better and worse: People that you’d have bet would be right there to help aren’t; and people you barely knew will do all they can.

So, it’s all the more important to be kind to yourself: go the gym, meet friends, and see a movie! That stuff may seem frivolous when you’re job searching, but it’ll help you feel happier—and keep you from letting your identity be wrapped up in your professional life.

6. Pay it Forward
Once you’ve landed in your new role, do what you can to help a colleague or friend of a friend. It could be at work, like offering to mentor junior employees.

Or, it could be that someone contacts you seeking your advice. Remember how you felt when you were job searching and do your best to find the time!

And of course, when you’re hiring in the future, give those who’ve had winding career paths a second look.

After my 10-week returnship program ended, I was asked to stay on for another year—and I did, happily. When my role recently came to an end, leaving Goldman Sachs was bittersweet.

But one thing that made me feel better is that I knew I was ready to find my next, more permanent position. On this search, I have not only a solid and recent accomplishment to leverage, but all of the lessons I’ve learned the last time around, as well as some new and treasured Millennial friends.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-6-best-job-search-lessons-i-learned-after-10-years-away-best-of?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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Hunter Young Professionals (hyp) is seeking community champions, thought leaders and change agents for their 2018 board.

The local networking organisation specifically targeting young professionals is looking for individuals who are passionate about their cause to join the organisation with enthusiasm, desire and focus.

President, James Callender said a position on the hyp board provides opportunities to challenge one’s self, meet new people, learn new skills and advocate for the growth and direction of our local community.

 “2017 has been a strong year for hyp. Our membership continues to grow as young professionals gravitate towards the annual learning journey that we facilitate. The 2017 impact journey featuring local and national keynote speakers saw record event attendance and new venue activation,” James said.

“We have come a long way this year and we are looking forward to seeing and experiencing where the new board will take the organisation in 2018.”

Nominees for the 2018 hyp board are expected to combine their acquired skill set with a desire to learn, collaborate, facilitate and grow as a professional. The organisation supports four key focus areas of communications, events, membership and sponsorship.

To be eligible to nominate for a board position and vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), it is a constitutional requirement that you are a registered voting member of HYP and between the age of 18 and 40. HYP membership is free.

Nominations are open for the 2018 Hunter Young Professionals board until 31 December. Voting will take place at the organisation’s AGM on Tuesday 30 January 2018 at Queens Wharf Hotel.

“If you want 2018 to be a year of change, challenge, reward and recognition, nominate yourself for the hyp Board,” James said.

“It’s a chance to learn, contribute to the community and inspire others.”

 

Source: http://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/trailblazers-wanted-hunter-young-professionals-board/

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Whether you consider this fact disheartening or motivating, you can’t deny its truth: You probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with anyone else.

When you’re in the office at least 40 hours per week, the people you work with become a big part of your life. So it pays to have solid relationships with them.

Not only does that give you a strategic advantage in the workplace (hey, it never hurts to be well-liked!), it also makes work that much more enjoyable.

If you don’t consider yourself particularly close with your colleagues, don’t worry—cultivating a more caring and supportive atmosphere at work doesn’t need to be a complicated undertaking.

Here are four super simple things you can do to show your co-workers that you care and, as a result, make your office a place that you look forward to spending time in.

1. Offer Help

Think of the last time you were struggling at work. Maybe you were swamped and overwhelmed, or perhaps you were stuck on a challenging project.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had stopped by your desk and provided some advice? Or even offered to take something off your plate? Wouldn’t that alone have made you feel so much more valued and supported?

Absolutely. So, why not do that same thing for a colleague? When you see someone who’s stressed or confused, just ask: Is there anything I can do to help?

Even if your co-worker doesn’t actually take you up on your offer, just the fact that you recognized the challenge and wanted to do something about it goes a long way in fostering a more empathetic culture.

2. Get Personal

No, you don’t need to get too personal—after all, you’re still in the office.

But, even though you’re in a work setting, aim to forge a relationship with the whole person—not just a job title.

This means that the more you can get to know about your colleagues’ interests and passions outside the office, the easier it will be to connect with them on a more human level.

Whether it’s asking about his marathon training or admiring her desktop background featuring a photo from her recent vacation, don’t neglect to strike up the occasional small talk. Doing so will demonstrate your investment in them, while also giving you common ground that you can use to connect even further.

3. Provide Recognition

Everybody loves to get a pat on the back for a job well done—that’s universal. But gratitude and adequate recognition can easily fall by the wayside when we’re wrapped up in the chaos of our everyday lives.

Step up and be that colleague who always applauds the hard work of your team members. Maybe that involves sending a quick Slack message to let her know how much you enjoyed her presentation. Or, perhaps it means highlighting your co-worker’s contributions when your boss commends you for your own hard work on a recent project.

These sorts of comments might seem small, but they can make a huge impact when it comes to helping others in your office feel valued.

4. Do Something Nice

Little acts of kindness won’t go unnoticed—particularly in the office. So, when’s the last time you did something nice just because you felt like it?

Go ahead and pick up some bagels on your way into work one morning (when in doubt, free food is always effective). When you’re heading out for lunch, ask that colleague who looks insanely busy if you can get anything for him.

Your co-workers are sure to appreciate those little niceties and treats that you sneak in every now and then. Plus, as an added bonus, doing these sorts of things makes you feel good too!

These four strategies are great for showing your co-workers that you actually care about them. And they’re incredibly simple and take almost zero effort on your part.

So, if you’re eager to forge better, more supportive relationships with your colleagues (and if you aren’t, you definitely should be!), put these four tips to work. You’re sure to become one of the most-liked people in your office—while simultaneously cultivating a more positive atmosphere for your entire team.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-easy-things-you-can-do-to-show-your-coworkers-you-care?ref=recently-published-1

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The story of Newcastle’s urban renewal project has been squeezed into road cases and is set to roll out to Australian cities and towns.

The mobile exhibition, ‘Renew In A Box’, is on display at Newcastle Library until the end of January, and will be offered in conjunction with Renew Newcastle’s not-for-profit consultancy service.

Renew Newcastle is a social enterprise project that finds spaces for artists and creatives over the short- and medium-term, within buildings or outdoors, in Newcastle’s CBD that are currently vacant, not used, or awaiting redevelopment.

Buildings were “borrowed” for the project, Renew Newcastle’s general manager Christopher Saunders said.

“And that’s what you’ll see in these boxes.”

An independent economic study by the Centre of Full Employment and Equity at the University of Newcastle found in 2017 that for every $1 invested in Renew Newcastle it returned $14.40 and added $3 million to the economy.

Renew Newcastle is supported by the NSW Government through Urban Growth NSW, Hunter Development Corporation and NSW Premier’s Department, and backed by Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Now and The GPT Group.

Renew Newcastle has consulted on 39 projects in cities and towns around Australia.

The Renew Newcastle model has been the subject of a television series Not Quite Art on ABC TV, and the book Creating Cities by its founder Marcus Westbury.

More than 200 projects have launched in Newcastle using the Renew model in nine years.

Artists and creatives are only ever temporary tenants, free to stay as long as the buildings were not being used. They must be ready to vacate within 30 days if required.

In Newcastle more than 30 Renew participants have gone on to sign commercial leases on the buildings they started in.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-06/urban-renewal-blueprint-in-a-box/9231918

 

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For Tourism Hunter chairman Will Creedon, the Newcastle 500 Supercars event was a success before a single race was run on the weekend.

“People are starting to see the significance of events,” Mr Creedon said, “and the emergence of the visitor economy. That is really, really satisfying. A lot of people in our region have been harping about what tourism can do. This is one of the events. It doesn’t matter if it is Supercars. It is how we have set ourselves up.

“A lot of people have worked hard. Some will never be known. I want to thank them. By having such a major event it allows us our next step.”

He offers a bevy of events in Newcastle and the Hunter over the past 10 years that have proved the region has the infrastructure in place to hold a major event like Supercars. He reels off a list of acquired strengths – volunteers, police, business support and industry. And the events that preceded Supercars: Special Olympics, World Youth Games, Asian Cup and home-grown festivals like Steamfest in Maitland.

Mr Creedon’s busy mind is already focused on the next big thing.

“Our first major event just happened to be Supercars,” he said. “The thing is, it’s the first major event. That is really important. For me, it is about where do we set ourselves up for in the future.”

One creative idea floated by Creedon: why not take advantage of the massive temporary infrastructure and road closures put in place for the Supercars event, perhaps as early as next year. The concept: immediately after the Supercars host a convention around engineering technologies and other smart technologies, drawing the best from Asia and the Hunter region.

He is also an advocate for the property along Newcastle’s foreshore from Nobbys lighthouse all the way to Wickham coming under separate management.

“I believe we need an authority to program and drive that area,” he said. “I’m not talking buildings, I’m talking about activities, events, things that enrich our everyday lives. By default, it will enhance cruise activities. It will enhance the reason to live here.”

Mr Creedon envisions it as a “global playground” capable of drawing 400,000 visitors on a weekend.

Turning the old Newcastle train station into a vital tourism drawcard is essential, he said. “It’s not about the built form. You can be really clever there.”

He said the location could be “our Statue of Liberty”.

So many changes in the past five years have already contributed to Newcastle becoming a buzz city to others around the nation and world, he said.

“We don’t know how great we are, and how great we can be,” he said.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5079077/supercars-are-one-giant-step-for-hunter/