City proud to play host to Newcastle 500 gig

The City of Newcastle has welcomed the announcement of Simple Minds as the headline act for the Newcastle 500 concert.

The Glasgow rockers responsible for hits like Don’t You (forget about me) and Alive and Kicking will be joined by Australian rock legends Birds of Tokyo at the Saturday night 24 November gig.

This year’s event will be staged at No.1 Sportsground, offering local businesses a chance to capitalise on throngs of people.

“We’re excited that this year’s Newcastle 500 concert will be held at our premiere regional-level sporting facility,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“With many concert goers making their way from the Supercars precinct to No.1, there’s a real opportunity for businesses along the route to benefit.

“Activating the city over the Newcastle 500 event weekend is a priority, and having the concert located at No.1 will promote dining and shopping in Cooks Hill and at Marketown.

“As a city with a growing reputation for hosting major events, this concert location provides us with an opportunity to showcase another beautiful part of our city to visitors and locals alike.”

The Saturday night concert is free with any same day event ticket.

Beresfield local centre reaches first milestone

A large-scale renewal project to support the Beresfield community by revitalising the local centre has reached the half-way point.

The work requires the complete reconstruction of infrastructure above and below ground, with a large component of the work on utilities beneath the surface now complete.

The Lord Mayor met with local businesses and City of Newcastle works crew to mark the milestone last week.

Bero-crew-inside.jpgThe Lord Mayor with the City of Newcastle crew delivering the Beresfield local centre project.

“The majority of businesses have been great to work with, understand the time frames required for this work and have been very supportive of the project and our work crews, who began in March and are expected to be finished in March 2019,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The project has now reached the half-way point and remains on schedule. It’s wonderful to see our suburban renewal project at Beresfield taking shape – we have had very positive feedback on the City’s works crews from the local community and businesses.

“Our construction manager and the civil construction team work tirelessly to accommodate the needs of residents and business owners and have formed great relationships with many locals who regularly stop by for an update.”

James-Henry-real-estatse-staff-and-LM-inside.jpgStaff from James Henry Real Estate with the Lord Mayor.

A project page on our website contains current information about the project and upcoming works –

The fly-through video in the above link shows the future streets of Beresfield, including smart lighting and Wi-Fi as the first of City Of Newcastle’s local centre upgrades takes shape.

Businesses and residents can take a virtual trip along the streets to see how they’ll look after completion of the $2.4million project.

The video showcases changes to Addison Street, Lawson Avenue and Beresford Avenue.

“It’s exciting to see this virtual view of how Beresfield local centre will look when this significant project is completed,” added the Lord Mayor.

“You immediately notice the smart poles, which will provide smart lighting and access to Wi-Fi, making Beresfield the first local centre in Newcastle to have smart poles installed.

“You also can clearly see the renewed road surface, wider pedestrian pathways, more public spaces in Beresford Ave, and new street trees, seating, bike racks and bins, with many of these above-ground upgrades being delivered right now.”

Befor the revitalisation project began, a public domain plan was developed involving community consultation to identify issues and possible solutions to ensure the community’s priorities were addressed.

The renewal project includes:

  • A 40km/hr zone and pedestrian friendly street design
  • Road and pedestrian lighting upgrade
  • Lighting to the railway station
  • Drainage renewal
  • Water sensitive urban design with a rain garden
  • New site appropriate street trees
  • New public space in Beresford Avenue
  • New seating, bike racks and bins
  • New kerb, gutter and footpath
  • Renewed road pavement
  • Retention of on street parking
  • Free WiFi.

City registers new record for building approvals

Another record year has been registered on Newcastle’s development front with the total value of building approvals topping $1.2 billion.

City of Newcastle (CN) approved $1.02 billion in development applications in the 12 months to July this year, with another $94.8 million in complying development certificates* issued by both CN and private certifiers.

Projects worth another $98 million, including two mixed-use Honeysuckle developments, were approved by the State Government to see the yearly total top $1.2 billion.

“The results for the 2017/18 financial year are a fantastic outcome with Newcastle continuing to attract strong development and investment activity,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Our enduring building boom is clear to see on the CBD’s skyline as clouds gather elsewhere around the country, while other indicators and new efficiencies we’re introducing point towards a sustained period of growth.

“Following a successful trial of development applications by email, we hope to make this a permanent convenience for builders and developers in the very near future.”

Other projects in the local pipeline, such as the Store’s transformation into mixed-use towers, promise to keep the annual total buoyant despite a national downturn in the residential market.

Amid sustained strong development locally, the City continues to balance infrastructure renewal with revitalisation projects to meet the higher service expectations that accompany the growth.

The 2018/19 budget features a record $100 million civil works program focused on addressing the city’s infrastructure backlog but also supports the clear strategy to create a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.

“Our budget includes a works program for 2018/19 that strikes a balance between essential asset renewal and new and upgraded services to the community,” the Lord Mayor added.

“It includes more than $23.5 million on roads and footpaths, $13 million to renew buildings, structures and places and $8.2 million to implement our Smart City Strategy.”

* Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development. If the application meets specific criteria, it can be determined by a council or accredited certifier.

Representation of ‘the bridging & rebuilding of cultures’ wins Kilgour Prize People’s Choice

Artist Lori Pensini’s depiction of her cousins, Tyler and Georgia, tells a broader story of race relations in early Australia and was painted following her Western Australian family’s “recent discovery of indigenous lineage”.

The intimate and loving portrait of the girls in matching striped dresses has been voted the People’s Choice in Newcastle Art Gallery’s KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 exhibition.

Lori-Pensini-with-artwork-inside.jpgPensini with the her work Pride and Prejudice  2018 oil on canvas 101 x 121 cm, the People’s Choice in the 2018 Kilgour Prize.
The ‘social & political prejudices of the colonial era’ – acknowledges the artist’s statement – saw her ancestors conceal two sons’ marriages to local Noongar women, denying latter generations all knowledge of the unions that ultimately spawned Pensini’s contrasting subjects.

Pensini-Lori_prideandprejudice-inside.jpgLori PENSINI Pride and Prejudice  2018 oil on canvas 101 x 121 cm

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton hailed the public’s decision, the skill Pensini employed to convey intimacy, and context and broader social narrative of the work.

“I’m not surprised that visitors have responded so favourably to this work,” Morton said.

“It becomes apparent when viewing this intimate portrait that the artist has a strong connection to the subjects, and her deft skill in rendering their striped dresses further unifies the strong bond between the cousins.”

One in 10 of voters in the People’s Choice award selected Pensini’s painting and a number of them proffered positive critiques, including:

  • ‘Conveys such an enormous history so simply in its subjects’
  • ‘I loved the women’s faces. A feeling of contentment and love between each other. Beautiful piece of art that assume two persons seem one.’
  • ‘To me this painting conveys a serenity between two people. Clearly these girls share a lot of caring, peace and understanding. Reminds me bit of aspects of the film Picnic At Hanging Rock.  Thank you.’

Pensini, 48, receives $5,000 from the bequest of local artist Jack Noel Kilgour.

The major figurative and portrait art competition he left behind for Newcastle Art Gallery in 1987 is now one of Australia’s most renowned.

The official annual prize, hosted by the Gallery, offers aspiring artists a level and lucrative playing field – as paintings are judged without attribution – before the winner is awarded $50,000.

Sydney artist Natasha Walsh’s intimate and delicate self-portrait Within the Studio (self-portrait) 2017 earned this year’s prize.

She followed up the success with the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and 2018 Mosman Art Prize.

The KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 exhibition will remain on display at the Gallery until 21 October.

2018 FINALISTS (complete list)

Geoffrey Breen
Filippa Buttitta
Rachel Coad
James Drinkwater
Sarah Gosling
Jeannine Grey
David Griggs
Craig Handley
Jacqueline Hennessy
Cliff Hosking
Peter Lankas
Fiona Lowry
Marie Mansfield
Steve May
Fiona McMonagle
Rachel Milne
Alice Palmer
Amanda Penrose Hart
Lori Pensini
Rodney Pople
Glen Preece
Jordan Richardson
Michael Simms
Anthony Slater
Peter Smeeth
Loribelle Spirovski
Susan Sutton
Mark Tweedie
Natasha Walsh
Anthony Williams

Ton of businesses take up City’s financial help

City of Newcastle is reminding small businesses in the CBD of more than $400,000 still on offer as part of its rates relief scheme for those impacted by the light rail construction.

To date more than 102 applications have been received, with Council paying out more than $37,000 in rate relief.

To be eligible for rate relief, a CBD business needs the property owner to have paid their first quarterly rates, which were due at the end of August this year.

Rebates have been returned to 95 applicants in the first 10 weeks of the program, which is open for the duration of the 2018/19 financial year.

Eligible properties are entitled to financial assistance amounting to half the special rate historically passed onto business improvement association Newcastle Now, which in turn used the funds to promote the CBD.

“Council took this decision to provide direct rate relief to those businesses suffering from the disruption that the construction of light rail has brought about,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“We understand that for many small businesses their bottom line has been impacted, and this rate relief was a way Council could play a role in minimising the impact of light rail. Once it became clear that the State Government wasn’t going to provide rent relief, it was important that City of Newcastle looked for a way of supporting these businesses that didn’t come at the expense of our existing $100 million works program.

“There are hundreds of local small businesses that are yet to apply for rate relief. Clearly many are unaware that the funding exists or that they only need pay their first quarterly rates notice to be eligible. The process of application is straight forward, and businesses can apply at any time throughout the current financial year.”

The helping hand was extended in July following the Lord Mayor’ successful amendment to Council’s 2018-19 budget.

Financial assistance is available:

  • to the tenant(s) of the property, or


  • to the property owner – providing the property is solely owner occupied and no part is leased out

Property owners are eligible for the relief after paying their first quarterly rates instalment for 2018/19.

They should complete an application form together with details of tenants (with their signature) where applicable.

If more than one tenant occupies the property, a separate form is required for each tenant.

Council will then provide half of the amount they would have paid for the 2018/19 City Centre Special Rate in to the bank account nominated on the application form.

Both property owner and tenant(s) will be notified by email once Council makes the financial assistance payment is made.

Newcastle City Council says Re-use and recycle with GST

Novocastrians can declutter their homes and offload unwanted items by signing up for this month’s Garage Sale Trail (GST) to help promote environmental sustainability.

The free national weekend of garage sales on 20-21 October is a popular way for people to connect with neighbours, find new homes for superfluous items and hunt for second-hand treasures while helping divert waste from landfill.


Members of Upcycle Newcastle, who have registered for Garage Sale Trail (left to right) are: Samantha Wells, Cathy Stuart and Melanie McKinnon. 


Sellers can host a sale as a household, street or community group to make money individually or fundraise for a cause.

“City of Newcastle is proud to support Garage Sale Trail and the positive impacts it enables in communities right across Australia,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“It’s a simple, fun way for everyone to re-use, reduce waste and minimise their impact on the environment while also getting to know their neighbours and others in the community.

“I encourage everyone to get involved, clear out some clutter and maybe even make a few dollars in the process.”

Last year, nearly 3,000 Newcastle buyers scooped up pre-loved items from around 89 Newcastle households and groups who opened up their garages or held stalls.

More than 15,000 sales were held in neighbourhoods across the country with over 1.6 million treasures changing hands.

It’s easy to find the best treasure in our region over the GST weekend. Just search online for sales by postcode or suburb or, if you’re on the hunt for something specific, search by item or category.

Register your garage sale online or have a look at registered sales in Newcastle.

If you’re hosting a sale and plan to dispose of unsold items, pre-book a bulk waste pick-up or Summerhill Waste Management Centre voucher to minimise wait time.

To use these services, complete a waste request form on our website or phone 4974 2000 weekdays during business hours.


The Liberal-National Government’s economic plan and responsible budget management has seen the Final Budget Outcome for the 2017-18 financial year record an underlying cash deficit $19.3 billion better than estimated at the time of the 2017-18 Budget.

At $10.1 billion, just 0.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), the underlying cash deficit is the smallest in ten years – clear evidence that the Liberal-National Government’s plan for a stronger economy, more jobs and to repair the Budget is working.

Stronger economic growth and much stronger employment growth than anticipated at the time of the 2017-18 Budget have driven increases in personal income tax and company tax receipts, with total receipts $13.4 billion higher than expected at the time of the Budget.

Total payments were $6.9 billion lower than forecast at Budget time, including as a result of lower welfare payments with more Australians in paid work. Welfare dependency for working age Australians is now at its lowest level in 25 years and in 2017-18, there were 90,000 fewer working age Australians on welfare.

Net Future Fund earnings were $1.1 billion higher than expected at the time of the 2017-18 Budget (which are excluded from the underlying cash balance).

These outcomes demonstrate that the Liberal-National Government’s economic plan is working and confirm that the Budget is firmly on the path back to balance.

The Australian economy has completed its 27th consecutive year of growth. With more than one million jobs having been created since the Coalition Government was first elected in 2013, today’s outcome reflects the record number of people in jobs and an economy in which businesses are growing.

Real GDP in 2017-18 was stronger than anticipated in the 2017-18 Budget. Nominal GDP grew by 4.7 per cent in 2017‑18, which was significantly stronger than the 2017-18 Budget forecast of 4 per cent. This was the result of stronger‑than-expected real GDP growth and higher-than-assumed prices for key commodities.

Almost 350,000 jobs were created in 2017-18, with employment growing by 2.7 per cent through the year to the June quarter 2018, well above the 1½ per cent growth forecast in the 2017-18 Budget.

Today’s positive Final Budget Outcome builds on the release of the National Accounts earlier this month, which showed that the economy grew 3.4 per cent through the year – the fastest rate of growth since the September quarter 2012 during the height of the mining investment boom and faster than any G7 economy. It also follows last week’s reaffirmation of our AAA credit rating by Standard & Poor’s – Australia being one of only 10 countries with such a rating from all three major ratings agencies.

The Final Budget Outcome for 2017-18 further demonstrates that the Coalition Government’s economic plan is working to create more jobs and ensure that we can afford to deliver the essential services that Australians rely on.

The Final Budget Outcome 2017-18 can be found at


Millions of small and medium sized businesses will pay less tax, sooner – with the Coalition Government delivering its tax relief five years earlier than planned.

This will mean more investment, more jobs and higher wages.

We will introduce legislation during the next session of Parliament, fast-tracking our business tax relief for more than three million businesses that employ nearly seven million Australians.

This means businesses with a turnover below $50 million will face a tax rate of just 25 per cent in 2021-22 rather than from 2026-27 as currently legislated. Similar timing changes will apply to the roll out of the 16 per cent tax discount for unincorporated businesses.

This means that a small business, such as an independent supermarket or a pub, that makes $500,000 profit, will have an additional $7,500 in 2020-21 and $12,500 in 2021-22 to invest back into the business or staff, or help to manage cash flow.

This builds on the first stage of company tax relief that our Government delivered in May 2017, because we believe in a fair go for those who have a go – that’s what our tax plan is all about.

This change will help to ensure Australian businesses are competitive, to protect our economy and jobs.

The legislation that delivers this additional tax relief will be a major test for Bill Shorten – does he support Australian businesses, Australian workers and Australian jobs? Or is Bill Shorten’s only plan for the economy to introduce an extra $200 billion in taxes?

Our economic plan is working and the fast tracking of tax relief for small and medium businesses is an important investment in the future economic growth of our nation.

Corporate 18-19 19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 25-26 26-27
Existing 27.5% 27.5% 27.5% 27.5% 27.5% 27.5% 27% 26% 25%
Fast-tracked 27.5% 27.5% 26% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25% 25%
Unincorporated 18-19 19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 25-26 26-27
Existing 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 8% 10% 13% 16%
Fast-tracked 8% 8% 13% 16% 16% 16% 16% 16% 16%


Labor will give a voice to the victims sidelined by Scott Morrison’s failure to extend the Banking Royal Commission.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is today announcing that Shadow Minister for Financial Services Clare O’Neil will travel to cities and towns around Australia that have not been visited by the Royal Commission to hold a series of roundtables with victims.

These roundtables will give victims a crucial opportunity to share their stories and consider options for reform to ensure that the shocking misconduct exposed by the Royal Commission is stamped out.

Labor is committed to working with bank victims the opportunity to be part of this important national conversation.

So far, the Royal Commission has only had time to hear from 27 customers, despite over 9300 customers making written submissions.

All of the hearings of the Commission have been in just three capital cities – regional and rural customers have not had a sufficient chance to have their say in this process.

Misconduct in the financial services sector is a national issue – and Australians across the country deserve their chance to be heard. Unlike the Liberals, Labor will listen to victims.

The Royal Commission’s interim report has highlighted how badly ‘greed’ and ‘the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty’ has affected our financial services sector.

Labor now wants victims to have a seat at the table when the Royal Commission considers what reforms are required to clean up this sector.

Scott Morrison doesn’t want to give bank victims a voice. He always has been, and always will be, on the side of the big banks.

He spent 600 days fighting against the Royal Commission, labelling it a ‘populist whinge’ and a ‘reckless distraction’. He voted against the Royal Commission 26 times. And he spent years trying to reward the big banks with a $17 billion tax cut. Now, he’s refusing to extend the Royal Commission – all but guaranteeing victims won’t get a say in responding to the Commission’s recommendations for reform.

Labor called for this Royal Commission, Labor fought for this Royal Commission, Labor will allow victims to have their say, and Labor will work day and night to protect Australian businesses and consumers from this appalling misconduct.


347,000 Australian children are facing a $440 million cut to preschool funding as a result of Scott Morrison’s cuts to preschool, with the program only funded for one more school year.

Unless this cut is reversed, every child now under the age of two will miss out on preschool funding in the year before school. This would be a disaster for Australian children and for our economy.

Scott Morrison’s cuts amount to the equivalent of $1,200 per child every year – a cut that will leave parents out of pocket or force states and community kindies to cut back hours.

In 2009, Federal Labor introduced Universal Access to Preschool for all four year olds, so Australian children could access 15 hours per week of quality preschool education in the year before school.

This was in recognition of the importance of early education – 90% of a child’s brain development occurs before they are five, and children who access preschool have been shown to achieve better school results in later years.

Unfortunately the Liberals continue to treat early education as a political football – leaving parents with uncertainty about whether they will be left out of pocket or whether their child will miss out.

Since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment has increased from 77% to up to 97% in some states.

However, this is all in jeopardy if Morrison doesn’t reverse his cuts and extend funding for preschool in his next Budget update – less than two months away.
When a student starts behind, they are unlikely to catch up – it’s likely they will not meet minimum NAPLAN standards in Years 3, 5 and 7.

For a country like Australia, this is just not good enough. By refusing to commit to ongoing funding for preschool, Mr Morrison is putting our children’s futures at risk.

He is also making it extremely difficult for providers to plan ahead and build a solid workforce.

This funding cut comes on the back of Morrison’s $14 billion cuts to public schools, his cuts to Universities and cuts to TAFE. These cuts show he just doesn’t understand the importance of education.

He’s spent years arguing for a tax cut for the banks, but Morrison is happy to leave funding for our youngest minds in jeopardy.

Labor will fight for early education and we will fight for better schools because unlike the Liberals, we know that education is an investment in a better future for our kids and our nation’s economy.

NSW 102,000 $128 million
VIC 98,000 $123 million
QLD 68,000 $88 million
SA 22,000 $28 million
WA 37,000 $47 million
TAS 7,000 $9 million
NT 3,800 $4.8 million
ACT 7,000 $9 million
TOTAL 347,000 $440 MILLION