Keith Urban Scholarship for The CMAA Academy

The Country Music Association of Australia is delighted to announce that multiple Grammy and ARIA Award winner Keith Urban, has established a scholarship for the CMAA Academy.

The Academy program precedes Australia’s largest music event – the Tamworth Country Music Festival, held each January in the nation’s ‘Country Music Capital’.

The two-week residential skills and career-development program was, and still is, a unique and world-leading initiative which has helped launch the careers of many of our current genre’s stars including Sara Storer, The McClymonts, Travis Collins, Amber Lawrence and The Sunny Cowgirls to name just a few of the 500-plus artists who have graduated since the Academy was established 21 years ago.

The inaugural recipient of the Keith Urban Scholarship is Heath Lancaster, who originally hails from Gladstone, near Kempsey.

“We chose Heath as the first recipient of this special scholarship as he has shown great musical talent and potential as an all-round artist – as a musician, singer and songwriter,” The Academy director Lyn Bowtell said.

“The Academy staff members can see a bright musical future for Heath if he chooses to pursue it as a career.”

Keith’s stellar career began in 1990 when the then 22-year-old won Australia’s premier talent search competition, Star Maker at the Tamworth festival.

Following the 1991 release of his self-titled debut album that produced four charting singles, Keith relocated to Nashville.

The rest, as they say, is history with every possible award – including US Entertainer of The Year (in 2005 and 2018), establishing him as one of the brightest stars in the world’s largest music market and one of our most successful music exports ever.

Many of The Academy graduates have targeted Toyota Star Maker as the first rung on the ladder to success, with fourteen of the past twenty winners of the prestigious title having come through the program.

The program focuses on songwriting, presentation and career/business skills and features guest lectures and mentoring by our leading artists – many of them ex-graduates themselves.

On receiving the news, CMAA President Dobe Newton, who helped establish The Academy said:

“This generosity is typical of the man who has never forgotten the part Tamworth played in launching his stellar career, typified by an unscheduled gig on his Australian tour last year to assist the many thousands of farmers, rural workers and communities affected by drought. The Keith Urban Scholarship will create a lasting legacy and hopefully allow a talented and determined young artist to follow in his footsteps. Thanks mate!”

Ecosuburbia event for smart, liveable sustainable city

Laman Street behind Civic Park will come to life with eco-market stalls, a local food swap and a range of activities to get kids thinking about sustainability when Newcastle Library hosts the Ecosuburbia Fair Share event tomorrow, Saturday 22 June.

City of Newcastle is collaborating with Permaculture Hunter and Purple Pear Farm to showcase the fair and host an “Aussie Street” City Hall talk by permaculture co-originator David Holmgren tomorrow.

Author of RetroSuburbia, the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, Holmgren espouses a way of life aligned with the City of Newcastle’s strategy to create a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.

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“Our community collaborating to host the father of an internationally recognised social and environmental movement illustrates Newcastle’s commitment to living smarter and more sustainably,” Manager Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said.

“His Aussie Street talk cleverly brings RetroSuburbia’s ideas into our everyday lives, using 100-plus photos and water-coloured illustrations and practical concepts from his exciting new book. Come along to be part of Holmgren’s remarkably insightful, thought-provoking vision for a resilient and sustainable future.”

Tickets for the Retrosuburbia ‘Aussie Street’ talk with David Holmgren sold out within 48 hours.

The Ecosuburbia Fair Share event from 10am is proudly delivered in collaboration with Newcastle Libraries, Hunter Permaculture and Purple Pear Farm. It will also host Slow Food Hunter Valley Soup Kitchen and live music by Newcastle Folk.

Ecosuburbia is part of the City’s embrace if the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities, which are now part of the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan.

Busting Congestion in Western Sydney

A re-elected Morrison Government will invest an additional $167.5 million into Western Sydney, supercharging congestion busting projects to get residents out of traffic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funds would be spent improving Dunheved Road in Penrith, and providing more spaces at seven car parks for regular train users.

Mr Morrison said only the Liberals and Nationals have a long-term plan for investment in Western Sydney, which would make it a better place to live, work and play.

“This is about taking Western Sydney from being just about growth, to an even better place to live and get around,” the Prime Minister said.

“Whether it’s the new airport, the North South Rail Link, or our congestion-busting road projects, we are working hard and in partnership with the Berejiklian Government to support a major transformation of this great city.

“We don’t want the people of Western Sydney to be stuck in traffic when they could be at home with their family or getting paid at work.

“But a record investment in infrastructure can only be delivered when you have a stronger economy and with a Budget that is in surplus.

“The only way Bill Shorten and Labor will be able to pay for new road and rail projects in Western Sydney is by placing at least $387 billion in new and higher taxes on the hardworking residents of suburbs like Penrith, Parramatta and Lakemba.”

The Morrison Government’s $167.5 million investment includes:

  • $63.5 million to upgrade Dunheved Road between Richmond Road and Werrington Road in Penrith;
  • $20 million to increase commuter car parking at Kingswood station;
  • $20 million to increase commuter car parking at St Marys station;
  • $15 million to increase commuter car parking at Emu Plains station;
  • $15 million to increase commuter car parking at Campbelltown station;
  • $15 million to increase commuter car parking at Macarthur station;
  • $9.5 million to increase commuter car parking at Revesby station; and
  • $9.5 million to increase commuter car parking at Riverwood station.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the projects were part of the Coalition’s record $100 billion investment in infrastructure across the country.

“The Coalition’s $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport started the infrastructure transformation across the region,” Minister Tudge said.

“We have also committed $3.5 billion to rail infrastructure that will be up and running the day the airport starts operating. All of this means jobs for the people of Western Sydney and our infrastructure plan will get everyone home sooner and safer each day.

“People have been crying out for commuter car parks and these seven new commuter car parks will take up to 3,000 cars off the road. It is a transport strategy that is smart and clear and will make a tangible effect.”

The new funding builds on the Morrison Government’s track record of delivering for Western Sydney, including:

  • $5.3 billion to fully fund the construction of Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport;
  • $3.5 billion for Stage 1 of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis;
  • $2.9 billion towards the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan;
  • $1.5 billion in grant funding and a $2 billion concessional loan for WestConnex;
  • $1.4 billion for the new M12 Motorway between the M7 Motorway near Cecil Hills and The Northern Road at Luddenham;
  • $200 million for the Hawkesbury River Third Crossing;
  • $115 million to upgrade Mulgoa Road;
  • $95 million to upgrade The Horsley Drive;
  • $50 million to upgrade Homebush Bay Drive;
  • $7.5 million for additional car parking at Panania station;
  • $65 million for Australia’s first dedicated Cystic Fibrosis Specialist Unit at Westmead;
  • New MRIs in Penrith, Mt Druitt, Rouse Hill and Bella Vista; and
  • Tax relief for Western Sydney’s 215,000 small and medium businesses and 800,000 lower and middle income earners in Western Sydney.