Recycling plans set to progress with strong community support

City of Newcastle’s plans to build a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the community.

Ninety-eight per cent of residents surveyed indicated their support for the project during the first stage of community consultation.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle (CN) is committed to increasing its capabilities in recycling and reuse of materials.

“The Summerhill Waste Management Centre will play a key role in the region’s ability to address future NSW and Federal government targets on waste diversion and recycling,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, which is expected to be placed on public exhibition in coming months, focusses on increased diversion, circular economy and the co-location of waste assets in the Summerhill precinct, which will allow the contents of Newcastle’s red, yellow and green bins to be processed at the one location.

“The community has told us very clearly that they support measures to sustainably divert waste from landfill.

“Construction of the MRF at Summerhill, in addition to the planned garden and food organics facility, meets the expectations of our community and will help achieve our vision for a circular economy where recyclables can be processed and remanufactured into new products locally.

“As we move forward, the views of the community will continue to inform our approach for these important projects and our broader Sustainable Waste Strategy.”

CN is now preparing to call for tenders to design, construct and operate the MRF, which will allow plastics, paper, cardboard, glass and metals collected from kerbside recycling bins to be sorted at the Summerhill site. A separate tender will also be called for the collection of the city’s kerbside recyclable materials.

The MRF project received $5 million from the Federal and NSW Governments in August last year and is included in the adopted 2022/23 Budget as one of four city-shaping projects that will deliver key outcomes for the community.

Concept designs prepared by CN ensure the MRF is scalable to process up to 85,000 tonnes of recyclables per annum, creating a regional solution for recyclable materials from across the Hunter.

Recyclables collected from Newcastle households have been transported to the Central Coast since 2020 when the only MRF in the Hunter closed, affecting City of Newcastle and several other Hunter councils.

NSW surfers call on Prime Minister to uphold PEP11 gas drilling ban 

Surfers for Climate and the local community are calling on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to honour his pre-election commitment and rule out Pep-11 licence once and for all, giving the local community certainty.

Serious concerns have been raised about the potential impacts of offshore gas exploration and drilling on marine environments, marine life including whales, seafood and the local community. Renewable energy should also be the preferred source of new energy given the need for urgent climate action to reduce emissions and global warming.

Belinda Baggs, Newcastle surfer and co-founder of Surfers For Climate said, “I grew up surfing in these pristine waters off Newcastle, the saltwater binds my family together. I have cousins and friends who rely on a healthy ocean for their livelihoods. 

“The community has made its opposition to Pep 11 clear over the past few years, we simply don’t want to risk marine life, our own well-being and livelihoods for gas drilling. 

“Newcastle has already experiencing climate impacts from fires to floods and now many of the beaches I grew up surfing on including Bar Beach are suffering from extreme erosion. 

“We must keep all new fossil fuels in the ground, including gas, and instead invest in a renewable future. 

“It’s right to investigate Morrison’s methods when in government but that doesn’t change the fact that drilling for gas between Newcastle and Sydney, Australia’s most populated coastline, is a terrible idea. 

“We are calling on Prime Minister Albanese to honour his commitments opposing PEP 11. He stood on the beach at Avoca and stated “A Labor government that I lead will rule out PEP 11 full stop”.

“Now the community needs certainty that the Prime Minister will rule out Pep-11 once and for all,” she said.

Surfers for Climate is a sea-roots movement dedicated to positive climate action.

Valuation delivers multimillion-dollar boost to Newcastle Art Gallery collection 

Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection has been independently valued at $126 million, an increase of $11 million since key works were last reviewed.

The $126 million value means the collection is now the most valuable of any gallery in Australia not located in a capital city.

Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Chair Suzie Galwey, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton, NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with some of the most iconic works of art in the collection, including William Dobell's renowned Portrait of a Strapper (above .

The Gallery was closed in February 2022 to allow for the collection to be prepared for relocation to secure storage ahead of the building’s $40 million expansion.

As part of the decanting process, key works were revalued, with Joseph Lycett’s Inner view of Newcastle and Russell Drysdale’s The crow trap recording the most significant increases, with more than $1 million added to each of their valuations. Five other iconic paintings including William Dobell’s renowned Portrait of a Strapper rose by more than half a million dollars each.

The value of Joseph Lycett's Inner view of Newcastle c1818 has risen by more than $1 million.

Significant female artists in the collection were also among works whose values have risen substantially, with two of Cressida Campbell’s works on paper more than doubling in value. Notable increases were also recorded for works by important artists including Eugene von Guérard, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Brett Whiteley, Grace Cossington Smith and Arthur Streeton.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the long-awaited expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery would allow the community to view and appreciate even more of these iconic artworks.

“City of Newcastle is proud to be the custodian of one of Australia’s most significant public collections of art, however only 1% of Newcastle Art Gallery’s works were able to be displayed in any year due to a lack of space in the existing building,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The expansion project includes an additional 1,600 square meters of exhibition space with dedicated areas on the lower level for our collection, offering the ability to share more of these wonderful works with the community.

“By more than doubling the size of the Gallery and delivering a suite of modern facilities, this project will deliver an expanded and upgraded gallery of international standing that will offer a valuable cultural tourism opportunity for Newcastle and the Hunter.”

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton OAM said the collection was significant and diverse, providing a time capsule of Australian art dating back more than 200 years.

“Thanks to the generosity of Dr Roland Pope, whose initial bequest in 1945 formed the genesis of the collection, and subsequent donations from major benefactors, artists, the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation, Newcastle Art Gallery Society and our community we are honoured to be the custodian of the city’s collection with works of art of local, national and international importance,” Ms Morton said.

“We are also proud to share this incredible collection with the rest of Australia through a touring loans program to regional, state and national institutions. During the past four years alone, many of our works of art have travelled to galleries around the country and have been viewed by approximately one million people, with 39 works of art currently involved in 11 exhibitions across Australia.”

The collection is also available to view online via the Newcastle Art Gallery website, while key works are represented in the Night Galleries project at sites throughout the city including Market Street Steps, Kuwumi Place and Pacific Park.

Toddler dies after being hit by car – Rathmines 

A toddler has died after being hit by a car in a driveway at Lake Macquarie.

Just before 2.30pm today (Monday 15 August 2022), emergency services were called to Rosemary Row, Rathmines, after reports a toddler had been hit by a vehicle in a driveway.

Upon arrival, NSW Ambulance paramedics commenced treating the 22-month-old, however the child died at the scene.

Officers attached to Lake Macquarie Police District attended and established a crime scene.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident has commenced.

A 38-year-old male driver has been taken to John Hunter Hospital for mandatory testing.

A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Wanted man charged following pursuit – Inverell

A man wanted on warrants will face court today following a pursuit in the state’s north last week.

About 2.10pm on Friday (12 August 2022), officers attached to Peel Traffic and Highway Patrol attempted to stop a Mazda 3 on Auburn Vale Road, for the purpose of a random breath test.

The Mazda failed to stop, and a pursuit was initiated before being terminated a short time later after officers lost sight of the vehicle.

Police patrolled the area and the Mazda was located stopped in Oswald Lane, and the male occupant fled on foot.

The 25-year-old man was arrested after a short foot pursuit.

He was taken to Inverell Police Station and charged with drive motor vehicle during disqualification period, police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously, drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, custody of knife in public place and two counts of possess prohibited drug.

Five outstanding warrants for property, assault and drug related offences were also executed.

The man was refused bail to appear at Tamworth Local Court on Saturday (13 August 2022), where he was formerly refused bail to appear at Moree Local Court today (Monday 15 August 2022).

Museum visitors invited to drop-in and explore Newcastle’s skateboarding subculture 

You mightn’t know the meaning of Shralp before going into the Newcastle Museum exhibition, but visitors will certainly leave appreciating the tricks, terrain and talented individuals involved in Newcastle’s skateboarding subculture.

Curated by local skateboarder and academic James Turvey, and named after the act of ‘shredding and ripping simultaneously while on a skateboard, surfboard, or snowboard’, the aptly titled exhibition is an exploration of the Newcastle skateboarding scene from 1985 to today.

Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan, Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird and exhibition curator James Turvey at the launch of the Shralp exhibition at Newcastle Museum.

Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan said Shralp, which opens to the public tomorrow,is another fantastic example of Newcastle Museum interpreting and preserving our city’s fascinating history, with a display of photos, magazines and skateboard decks and ephemera from local skating identities including John Bogaerts’ pro-model Bonzer board. In 1988, John became the first Novocastrian skateboarder to turn pro and have his name on a board.

“The exhibition highlights the significant role Newcastle has played in the history of Australian skateboarding and celebrates local skaters who have gone on to national and international success including Rowan Davis and Russell Grundy,” Cr Duncan said.

“Exhibitions such as this provide a vehicle through which we can share our stories and explore our identity.”

Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird said by collaborating with the community to tell their stories, the free exhibition offered a unique insight into this urban subculture.

“Skateboarding culture has flourished in Newcastle for over 35 years and when Museum Park opened in 2020, skaters flocked to the space to skate and socialise,” Ms Baird said.

“Finding this inclusive subculture on our doorstep inspired Newcastle Museum to collaborate with the community to produce a new exhibition.

“Curated by James Turvey, Shralp uses skateboarding print media as a lens to view the spots, people, and art of the Newcastle skate scene and how it has exposed Newcastle to the world.

“It also explores the role this community plays in documenting the changing nature of Newcastle’s urban environments as our city evolves over the decades.”

James Turvey said skateboarding was more than just a form of transport, it was a subculture with a rich and diverse history in Newcastle.

“Skateboarding as a subculture has always been more than transport. It has its own world, one that seeks to find new terrain, new tricks and new talent. The average bench or steps become a landmark of who’s done what and when,” James said.

“For over thirty-five years Novocastrian skateboarders have been archiving their own history; the city’s stairs, skateparks, benches and backyards have featured in print all over the world.”

The free exhibition opens to the public on 12 August and will run through to 30 October.

Appeal for public assistance following public place shooting – Lake Macquarie 

About 9.10pm on Friday 8 April 2022, emergency services were called to a carpark on Arnott Street, Edgeworth, following reports of a public place shooting.

A 27-year-old man was found suffering a gunshot wound to the right leg. He was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics and taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

He has since recovered and been released; however, has failed to provide any information as to how he came to be injured.

Detectives from Lake Macquarie Police District continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting under Strike Force Undola and have established the man was linked to the Nomads Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) at the time.

As part of their inquiries, investigators have also established that the man may have been shot near the intersection of Wakefield and Sugarloaf Range Roads, near Freemans Waterhole, just north of Lake Macquarie and will be conducting an extensive search of the area commencing at 10:30am today (Thursday 11 August 2022).

As investigations continue, police are appealing for any witnesses or anyone who was in the area on the evening of Friday 8 April 2022 and may have dash cam vision, to contact Lake Macquarie Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Awards season shines spotlight on City of Newcastle

City of Newcastle’s culture of excellence, transparency and continuous improvement has been recognised amongst its peers at a host of recent industry awards ceremonies.

For the second consecutive year, City of Newcastle’s (CN) Annual Report has won gold at the 2022 Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) for Excellence.

The Awards give organisations an opportunity to benchmark their reports against world’s best practice, with a gold rating recognising a report’s high-quality coverage against criteria such as providing a balanced and reasonable picture of economic, environmental, and social performance, as well as transparency of the organisation’s core business.

Meanwhile, the Masterplan for the future of Hamilton’s historic and much-loved Gregson Park was recognised as a finalist at the Parks and Leisure Australia NSW/ACT Awards.

The Gregson Park Masterplan celebrates the European and Indigenous heritage of the site, while meeting the recreational and accessibility needs of the community. It features a larger inclusive play space with water play, yarning circle, and a planted swale with indigenous plantings, a new community shelter, more shaded seating, and the potential for community gardens and a kiosk.

Finalists in this award are recognised as outstanding examples of strategic planning that have enriched and revitalised a community.

At the Local Government NSW Awards, CN’s Public Art Reference Group (PARG) was a finalist in the Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards category. This award recognises councils that have excelled in strategic policy, planning, delivery and evaluation in arts and culture.

Established in 2018, the PARG provides advice on the commissioning and development of new public art works in the city that are reflective of Newcastle’s history, culture, and community.

City of Newcastle’s 2020-21 Annual Report is available for download as a full version or a summary version.

Visit City of Newcastle’s website for the 2020-21 Annual Report along with further information about the Gregson Park Masterplan and the Public Art Reference Group.

Man charged over several alleged armed robberies – Newcastle 

A man has been charged by Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives as part of an ongoing investigation into several alleged armed robberies in the Newcastle area this year.

In July 2022, detectives attached to the State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad established Strike Force Kulla – with assistance from Newcastle City Police District – to investigate three alleged armed robberies, including:

  • About 10.25pm on Sunday 3 July 2022, a man – armed with a knife – approached two staff members as they were leaving a licenced premises on Station Street, Waratah. The man demanded the employees reopen the hotel before he allegedly stole cash and fled the scene on foot.
  • About 3.20am on Friday 8 July 2022, a 21-year-old male employee was leaving a licenced premises on Denison Street, Hamilton, when he was approached by a man armed with a knife. He allegedly threatened the employee and demanded to be let inside the premises, before stealing cash and fleeing the scene south along Beaumont Street.
  • About 1.20am on Sunday 7 August 2022, two staff members were leaving a licensed premises on Denison Street, Hamilton, via an exit on Steel Street, when they were approached by a man – allegedly armed with a handgun. The armed man threatened the staff members, before stealing cash and fleeing the scene towards Veda Street.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives – with assistance from Newcastle City Police District and the Tactical Operations Unit – attended a home on Everton Street, Hamilton, about 7.30am today (Tuesday 9 August 2022).

Upon police arrival, a 29-year-old man refused to leave the home and a police operation commenced.

Crews from Fire and Rescue NSW attended following reports of a small fire inside the home, however, were not required.

Specialist officers, including negotiators, attended the scene before the man was arrested without incident about 10.30am.

A search warrant was subsequently executed at the Hamilton home, and a second was executed at a home on Scholey Street, Mayfield – where officers seized a number of items for further forensic examination.

The man was taken to Newcastle Police Station and charged with two counts of robbery armed with offensive weapon, robbery while armed with dangerous weapon.

He was refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 10 August 2022).

Investigations under Strike Force Kulla are ongoing.

Newcastle’s top young engineer and project announced 

Newcastle’s Young Professional Engineer of the Year and Project of the Year have been announced at the Engineers Australia Excellence Awards – People & Projects Newcastle. 

 “The Engineers Australia Excellence Awards recognise outstanding engineers who show innovation and resourcefulness in their work and the region’s top engineering projects and the teams behind them,” said Engineers Australia Newcastle Division General Manager Helen Link.

“The Newcastle region is home to some of the globe’s oldest engineering structures, as well as world-class people and projects pushing the boundaries of engineering excellence to provide creative solutions to local problems.” 

Project of The Year – Newcastle

Pacific Complete -Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade

Joint Venture between Laing O’Rourke and WSP Australia, in partnership with Transport for NSW

The Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade converted 155km of the Pacific Highway to a four lane, divided carriageway between Hexham and the Queensland border. 

The project team navigated two major river catchments, floodplains, soft soil, threatened species habitat, and sensitive heritage areas to provide safer, reduced travel times and better connectivity for local communities. 

The size, scale and complex nature of the project provided unique challenges to the project team, who devised innovative solutions to leave an economic, social, and environmental legacy. 

Young Professional Engineer of the Year – Newcastle

Steve Adamthwaite, MIEAust

As leader of Arup’s NSW/ACT Water Business Steve Adamthwaite drives sustainable, community-oriented solutions to deliver service and infrastructure excellence to industry and the community. 

Adamthwaite represents the next generation of leaders and innovators – driving change, leading projects, and developing skills to underpin a sustainable future for the infrastructure sector, its people and the communities that rely upon it. 

He also shapes future strategy through leadership positions with WaterAid NSW (Deputy Chair), Australian Water Association (Vice President NSW) and Engineers Australia (Deputy Chair, National Young Engineers Committee, Shadow Board). 

Winners from the Engineers Australia Excellence Awards – People & Projects Newcastle now go into the running for the National Young Engineer of the Year Award and the Sir William Hudson Award – the highest accolade which an engineering project can receive from Engineers Australia. 

The national awards will be held at the Sydney Hilton on October 5.