2022/23 Annual Report highlights city on the grow

The visit of global megastar Elton John, the rejuvenation of the Newcastle Ocean Baths and a record $117.8 million spent on key infrastructure projects are just some of City of Newcastle’s (CN’s) achievements from another busy year.

The 2022-23 Annual Report was adopted at November’s Ordinary Council meeting and is the first annual report that aligns to our Newcastle 2040 community strategic plan, which is designed to turn a strategic vision of a liveable, sustainable, and inclusive city into reality for all Novocastrians.

Wallsend Active Hub

The city’s continued financial sustainability is highlighted in the Annual Report with CN spending $376.5 million this year to provide services and facilities to more than 169,000 residents, while recording a modest surplus of $7.8 million and an unqualified audit by the Audit Office of NSW.

Highlights of the City’s record $117.8 million capital works program include:

  • Lugar Park amenities upgrade in Kotara
  • Drainage upgrades at Smith Street, Merewether
  • Multipurpose sports and community hub at Myer Park, Adamstown
  • Pavement rehabilitation at Allowah Street, Waratah West
  • Road pavement stabilisation works at Kinta Drive, Beresfield
  • Traffic control signals at Chinchen Street, Islington

Elton John’s ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ concerts had an estimated economic impact of more than $12 million, attracting more than 50,000 fans for the two performances.

Work progressed to finalise the Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP) and CN secured NSW Government funding of $21 million to deliver mass sand nourishment to Stockton Beach.

We continued to invest in the Local Centres Program, delivering a renewed shopping hub at Mitchell Street, Stockton and progressing upgrades at Orchardtown Road in New Lambton, with future projects planned for Georgetown and Wallsend.

Wallsend is now home to the city’s largest playground, complete with a bike pump track, climbing walls, basketball court, tennis hitting wall and fitness equipment, following the completion of the $2 million Wallsend Active Hub in October 2022.

Other playgrounds were also enhanced including Vera Wilson Park in Beresfield, Avon Street Reserve in Mayfield, Harold Myers Park in Birmingham Gardens, Loch Ness Drive Park in Fletcher, Waratah Park in Waratah and the Beresfield Swimming Centre playground.

The eagerly anticipated rejuvenation of the Newcastle Ocean Baths got underway in 2022 with Stage One renovations geared towards enhancing safety, water quality and accessibility ahead of a return to swimming this summer.

The award-winning rehabilitation of Ironbark Creek is continuing with the latest stage now complete, focusing on 350 metres of creek line from Croudace Road, Elermore Vale to Lewis Street Oval, Wallsend.

Nearly 40,000 people attended the 2022 ‘New Annual’ cultural festival, featuring more than 530 artists and over 400 dedicated staff, crew and volunteers, across 32 city venues.

Newcastle was hailed as NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ by Business NSW at the Local Government NSW Destination & Visitor Economy Conference in recognition of its strategic initiatives to increase visitation and support tourism development for local operators.

CN also reduced the number of undetermined Development Applications (DAs) by 13% since 2021/22 while DA assessment times were cut by more than 25% with CN’s award winning Accelerated DA pathway.

CN’s Annual Reports have won three consecutive gold awards at the Australasian Reporting Awards.

The 2022/2023 Annual Report is now available online.

Industrial relations reform bill passes parliament

New laws which pave the way for a better industrial relations system in NSW have passed parliament today, creating the structure needed to deliver meaningful improvements to wages and conditions for hundreds and thousands of workers in the state.

The passage of the new laws, on the final sitting week of parliament for the year, marks the beginning of a more considered and independent way of settling industrial relations disputes, and negotiating wages and conditions.

Agencies and unions are now able to sit down together and find mutually agreed improvements to pay and conditions in NSW, a style of negotiation that was alien under the former government.

The new laws remove the power to cap wages for good, meaning the government’s meddling in the work of the Industrial Relations Commission which sets awards and settles disputes, is over.

The NSW Industrial Court, which was weakened and dismantled under the former government, will also be re-established, including the appointment of expert judges, who will preside over workplace health and safety matters and underpayments. 

The Minns Labor government was elected with a clear mandate to scrap the wages cap and sit down for genuine negotiation with our frontline workers. 

This government is committed to improving working conditions, stopping our frontline workers quitting and attracting more people to these vital roles.  

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey: 

“We promised meaningful industrial relations reform and today this has been delivered.

“It has been a long, difficult 12 and a half years for public sector and essential workers in NSW – but that is now at an end.

“The wages cap is gone and workers will be able to negotiate for a fair and decent wage increase.

“The blunt, unsophisticated instrument of the former government’s approach has been replaced by a resumption of genuine, meaningful public sector bargaining.”  

Minister for Industrial Relations Sophie Cotsis said: 

“I congratulate health workers, nurses, paramedics, police, child protection workers, teachers, cleaners, firefighters, transport workers and many more essential workers who spent years campaigning to scrap the wages cap. This is their victory. 

“NSW will have a modern industrial relations system that enables fair wages to be negotiated and disputes to be resolved. 

“The former government’s wages cap and wage suppression created a recruitment and retention crisis in public services and this is the beginning of reversing that damage.”

Land secured to help boost South Coast rental availability

As part of the Minns Government’s $30 million Build to Rent election commitment, more long-term housing will soon be provided on the NSW South Coast, with land secured by Landcom to kick-start the project.

This pilot project will mean 50 new homes, 20% of which will be affordable rental housing.

Build to Rent housing is an important part of creating more homes as it provides housing diversity, increased rental security, and supports construction jobs.

Build to Rent is a residential development where all the apartments are leased out, not sold or rented out for investment.

Through this project, Landcom is facilitating the development of purpose-built rental housing to be held in single ownership and professionally managed.

Located at the southern end of Bomaderry town centre, the site at the intersection of Bolong Road and Beinda Street is close to Bomaderry train station, Nowra TAFE, local parks, and road networks including the recently upgraded Princes Highway.

Work will now commence to complete the design and planning stages in preparation of a development application. Subject to approvals, construction is expected to begin in 2025 with residents to move in in 2026.

For more information, visit Landcomlaunch.

Minister for the Illawarra and South Coast Ryan Park said:

“We need more housing options for essential workers, particularly in regional areas where it is difficult to retain staff.

“With better housing security and affordability available, we can attract more health workers to the South Coast which will improve outcomes for the entire community.

“I’m excited to see the Build to Rent project take shape.”

Minister for Planning Paul Scully said: 

“Today’s announcement shows the Minns government delivering on our election commitment to deliver Built to Rent homes on the South Coast.

“This pilot project will help deliver much-needed supply into the South Coast rental market while improving affordability for local residents.

“There is enormous potential for Build to Rent to deliver more high-quality and affordable homes, and that is what this project represents.”

Minister for Housing Rose Jackson said:

“The NSW Government knows that it needs to be directly involved in confronting the housing crisis.

“People on the South Coast deserve the certainty that the government is taking their housing needs seriously.

“The Build to Rent program delivered through Landcom represents a direct intervention into regional housing markets to deliver more affordable housing properties and is one of the first steps that we are taking to better support our regional communities.”

Member for South Coast Liza Butler said:

“The South Coast has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the state with almost half of Nowra households (47%) currently experiencing rental stress.

“I am delighted to see the Minns government following through with our commitment to addressing the housing crisis.

“I’m pleased to know this project is being piloted locally – an additional 50 new rentals will provide huge relief in our community.”

Landcom CEO Alex Wendler said:

“Following significant review of land throughout the South Coast, securing the site means that work can now move forward.

“We hear it loud and clear every day, whether it is from renters or from people trying to purchase their own home – we need to do more, and we will do more.”

NSW Health signs Paris declaration to end HIV epidemics by 2030

NSW has joined a global partnership between more than 500 cities to end HIV epidemics by 2030 after Health Minister Ryan Park signed the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities agreement.

Mr Park said the Paris Declaration targets were well within reach, with NSW already well on the way towards the virtual elimination of HIV across the state.

“NSW is a leader in HIV prevention and treatment in Australia and continues to reduce the number of new transmissions each year thanks to the hard work of health staff, the community, and community groups,” Mr Park said.

“This World AIDS Day, I want to remind the community that HIV doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

“Stigma and discrimination are barriers to HIV prevention, testing and treatment, and by signing this commitment, I’m pledging to eliminate HIV-related stigma in healthcare settings so that we can improve the quality of life for people living with HIV.

“The Fast-Track Cities website will report on NSW’s progress against targets and will enable others in the 500-strong network to share knowledge to ensure we meet the 2030 targets.”

The Fast-Track Cities Declaration commits NSW to delivering zero HIV-related stigma and targets of 95% of people living with HIV knowing their status, 95% of people who know their HIV-positive status to go on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 95% of people on ART with suppressed viral loads.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health has a long-standing partnership with several organisations that will support NSW to reach the targets of the Fast-Track Cities agreement, including ACON, the Bobby Gold Smith Foundation, Positive Life NSW, NUAA and the Kirby Institute.

“NSW aims to meet the Fast-Track Cities Agreement of the virtual elimination of HIV transmissions as well as zero AIDS-related deaths before 2030,” Dr Chant said.

“We need the community to support us to meet these ambitious targets which is why I’m urging the community to undertake regular STI screening that includes HIV to allow for early diagnosis and linkage to care.”

ACON CEO, Nicolas Parkhill said ACON had a strong role to play working with state government to harnessing an effective HIV response for the NSW community.

“We have a strong heritage in New South Wales of addressing health issues together and the state’s effective HIV response is a testament to what can be achieved when affected communities, researchers, clinicians and governments unite for a common goal,” Mr Parkhill said.

“The inclusion of New South Wales in the Fast-Track Cities initiative and in the Paris Declaration to end HIV epidemics by 2030 will further support our response to HIV, solidify our commitment and accelerate our journey towards of a future where HIV transmissions have ended and people with HIV are living healthy and happy lives.” 

President/CEO of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care and Fast-Track Cities Institute, Dr. José M. Zuniga, said the declaration would be a significant milestone for Australia to end its national HIV epidemic.

“Sydney, NSW joining the Fast-Track Cities network marks a significant milestone in Australia’s collective commitment to ending its national HIV epidemic. With Adelaide, SA; Brisbane, QLD; Melbourne, VIC; and Perth, WA as fellow Fast-Track City-members of the network, NSW consolidates a critical mass of Australian cities whose efforts can have a substantial impact on the lives of people living with and affected by HIV nationally,” Dr Zuniga said.

“Sydney, NSW, like its counterparts, has made remarkable progress in its HIV response, laying a strong foundation for further advancements, including in going the last mile by leveraging social transformation to ensure the HIV response reaches all HIV-affected communities.”

About Fast-Track Cities

Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership between more than 500 cities, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the City of Paris. The partnership’s aim is to end urban HIV epidemics by getting to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV-related stigma. Launched on World AIDS Day 2014, the partnership also advances efforts to end tuberculosis (TB) epidemics and eliminate viral hepatitis (HBV and HCV) in urban settings by 2030. Learn more about Fast-Track Citieslaunch.


Representing 30,000 members, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end the epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis, as well as eliminate HBV and HCV, by 2030. IAPAC is also a core technical partner to the Fast-Track Cities network and the Secretariat for its Fast-Track Cities Institute. For more information visit the IAPAClaunch website.

About the Fast-Track Cities Institute

The Fast-Track Institute was created to support cities and municipalities worldwide in their efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3 (ending the epidemics of HIV and TB), the World Health Organization goal of eliminating HBV and HCV, and SDG 11 Sustainable Development Goal 11. Find more information about the Fast-Track Cities Institutelaunch.

Party Day brightens spirits for children in hospital

In the spirit of spreading holiday cheer, the annual Party Day celebration at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) today delivered great delight to children, young people, and their families unable to leave hospital during the festive season.

From Pac-Man to LEGO®, this year’s theme of ‘Games’ saw wards, clinics, and departments transformed into a playground of imagination, as patients were transported from their hospital beds into gaming realms where reality and fantasy merged.

Healthcare workers moonlighted as their favourite gaming characters, with special visits from guests, including superheroes Batman and Spider-Man as well as Princess Anna from the big screen, along with local heroes from NSW Police and Fire and Rescue NSW adding to festivities.

Patients also received gift bags and enjoyed activities like balloon twisting and face painting.

Party Day is a heartwarming tradition celebrated across the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick offering a much-needed escape from the challenges of being in hospital during the holiday season.

The event is also a celebration for the dedicated healthcare staff who work tirelessly year-round to ensure children and young people across NSW receive high-quality and family-centred care.

Quotes attributable to Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns:

“Party Day is an important day for paediatric patients and their families facing the challenges of hospitalisation during the holiday season.

“The annual event provides respite from medical routines, allowing children to enjoy a day of laughter, play, and festive spirit.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Ryan Park:

“It’s heartwarming to witness the joy and excitement that Party Day brings to young patients, families and the dedicated staff at the hospital.

Quotes attributable to Member for Parramatta Donna Davis:

“Party Day is an opportunity to experience the magic of the holidays right here in the hospital and I’m proud to have been part of it.

“Seeing their faces light up with happiness is a priceless gift.”

Quotes attributable to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network’s Chief Executive Cathryn Cox PSM:

“Our dedicated staff go above and beyond their normal duties to transform the hospital and make the experience as positive and festive as possible for our patients and their families.

“We extend our gratitude to our staff, the community, and our partners who prepare for months for Party Day to make this event truly magical.”

About Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) is the largest paediatric healthcare entity in Australia and cares for thousands of children each year both in hospital and in their homes — with one purpose in mind — to help children and young people live their healthiest lives. SCHN brings together the advanced facilities, expertise and services of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, the Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS), Bear Cottage and Kids Research to provide the very best care for sick children and their families. With more than 8,000 staff, the Network is committed to providing world-class paediatric health care, furthering ground-breaking research into the causes, treatments and cures of childhood illnesses and investing in education and training of the health workforce to advocate for a healthy future for children in NSW and beyond.

NSW Shared Equity housing initiative expands to support DV victim-survivors

The Minns Labor Government is today taking a meaningful step to better support victim-survivors of domestic and family violence, with the expansion of the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper trial.

From 1 December, the eligibility criteria for the initiative will expand to include specific reference to domestic and family violence victim-survivors.

The expansion of the program means that domestic and family violence victim-survivors and other eligible applicants can now access the scheme.

The program delivers on the Minns Labor Government’s commitment to take meaningful action to combat domestic violence and support victim-survivors.

Domestic violence victim-survivors who participate in the Shared Equity program will see the NSW Government contribute up to 40% of the purchase price for a new home, or up to 30% for an existing home.

This will allow eligible applicants to secure a property with as little as a two% deposit.

Removing many of the barriers to home ownership, domestic and family violence victim-survivors who apply for the initiative will pay no interest on the government’s share of equity in the property they purchase. They will also not require lenders mortgage insurance.

Housing instability and homelessness are a major barrier for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.

Women and children escaping domestic abuse account for 39% of specialist homelessness service users.

While domestic and family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women, annually in Australia it is estimated that 7690 women a year return to perpetrators due to having nowhere affordable to live.

The NSW Government has expanded the Shared Equity program’s eligibility criteria after accepting the recommendations of the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Shared Equity Taskforce.

The taskforce was co-chaired by Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison and Chief Executive Officer of Domestic Violence NSW Delia Donovan.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey was also a member of the taskforce.

Lower income single parents, single people aged 50 years or older and first home buyer key workers who are nurses, midwives, paramedics, teachers, early childhood educators or police officers are still eligible for the Shared Equity program.

Get more information about eligibility on Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper.

NSW Premier, Chris Minns said:

“This is a practical step the NSW Government is taking to better support victim-survivors of domestic violence.

“No one should face the choice of returning to an unsafe environment or being homeless.

“We will continue to take a whole of government approach to responding to the scourge of domestic and family violence in NSW.”  

Minister for Finance Courtney Houssos said:

“As a government we are committed to taking meaningful action to support victim-survivors of domestic violence.

“The expansion of the Shared Equity program will help reduce long term housing barriers for people experiencing family or domestic violence, by reducing the financial burden to buy a home.

“Revenue NSW and its lending partners are working to ensure the application process for domestic violence victim-survivors is sensitive and as seamless as possible.”

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said: 

“Temporary accommodation and refuges provide immediate housing support when a family escapes from violence but they are not a long-term solution. 

“Opening up the Shared Equity Home Buyer scheme to victim-survivors of domestic violence is another way the NSW Government is taking considered steps to address the impacts of domestic violence across NSW.

“I’m pleased to be making this announcement during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, to show the NSW Government’s strong commitment to helping women and children escaping domestic violence build a secure and safe future.”

CEO DVNSW Delia Donovan said:

“DVNSW supports efforts to create pathways to home ownership for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.

“Expanding the Shared Equity program to victim-survivors who are in a position to pursue home ownership allows them to rebuild their lives knowing they have stable housing.

“This in turn contributes to building dignity, confidence and a sense of accomplishment, which are vital to recovery.

“An emphasis must also be placed on significantly increasing investment in social and affordable housing to create pathways out of abuse for all people experiencing violence.”

Coalition fixes Labor’s hate speech legislation

The NSW Parliament got behind the Coalition’s efforts to amend the Crimes Act in a way that allowed NSW Police to prosecute those publicly threatening or inciting violence but prevented this law from being weaponised by private citizens.
Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said the Government’s poor drafting could have had an adverse impact by allowing private prosecutions by people trying to shut down free speech rather than protecting people from threats and calls to violence.
“We supported legislation that would allow NSW Police, and not just the DPP, to prosecute public threats or inciting of violence on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex or HIV/AIDS status,” Mr Speakman said.
“We had moved amendments that would allow Police to do so, while stopping private prosecutions, which the Minns Government voted down before being forced into accepting something similar by the Legislative Council.”
Shadow Attorney-General Alister Henskens said Minns Labor Government’s proposed legislation could have resulted in the opposite effect of what was intended and further inflamed tensions within the community.
“Our intention was always to support a law that would promote community harmony and ensure that people don’t feel fearful in their own community,” said Mr Henskens.
“However, without our amendments, people could have faced private criminal prosecutions from a person motivated to use the law to create disharmony in the community.”
“Thanks to our approach, it is easier for Police to use powers to bring a case while avoiding a situation where private individuals may have been targeted by others who might simply disagree with them.”
“The Parliament has also passed an amendment that will see a statutory review of these laws in two years, to ensure that they are working as intended.”

Labor’s Christmas gift for the Unions

The NSW Opposition has condemned the Minns Labor Government for rushing through major industrial relations reforms through Parliament without any consultation except with their union mates.
Shadow Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Damien Tudehope said that the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill is just a kickback to the Labor Party’s union mates.
“These changes are just the unions cashing the cheque for helping Labor get elected,” Mr Tudehope said.
“This is a regressive change that winds back the clock on reform by decades, at the behest of their union masters.”
Mr Tudehope also warned that these changes will do irreparable damage to the State’s budget.
“Labor is handing over control of half of the budget to the unions, who will blow any chances of returning to surplus.”
“This is the cost of doing business with the unions – and Labor will gladly pay with taxpayers’ money.”
The Government rejected an amendment that would have required wage rises be fully offset by productivity improvements to maintain budget neutrality as it promised before the election.
“It is now crystal clear that Labor’s election commitments were worthless and that the Minns Government does not keep its promises”, Mr Tudehope concluded.

Labor Government risking NSW health services

The Minns Labor Government is risking leaving the NSW Health system without more than 1500 paramedics – with 3 in 5 threatening to boycott their professional registration, leaving them as ambulance drivers.
Shadow Health Minister Matt Kean said Chris Minns and his Health Minister Ryan Park are putting patients across NSW in potential danger if they allow paramedics across the state to boycott their professional registration tomorrow.
“The Minns Labor Government will be giving people a very unhappy Christmas and New Year by leaving NSW badly short of paramedics able to handle patients,” said Mr Kean.
“This is the result of Chris Minns’ false election promises to give union bosses a pay rise without having to pay for it – while in his first Budget cutting NSW Health’s funding, leaving the community to pay for it either with higher costs or worse services.”
We are seeing all talk and no action from this Government. A Government that was voted in on the premise of delivering its promises. And a Government that has failed to do so.”
Shadow Minster for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor is calling on the Premier to stop the lies, saying paramedics are rightly angry.
“For months, the Premier has told the people of NSW that professional recognition for paramedics was the first step in Labor’s Health Plan,” Mrs Taylor said. “The cornerstone of Labor’s election campaign was the promise of a pay rise in line with inflation, but so far we have seen nothing and this level of deceit is utterly disgraceful.”
“The Government promised an additional 500 paramedics for regional NSW and now we are left asking if this will also be another broken promise.”