Record investment celebrated as challenging year comes to a close

24 Dec 2021

City of Newcastle (CN) staff are being congratulated for their achievements during a challenging 12 months after delivering another record capital works program, uninterrupted community services and a targeted response to the pandemic.

More than $103 million was invested in infrastructure across the Newcastle local government area during the 2020-2021 financial year, surpassing the previous year’s record investment by more than 10%.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said CN stepped up in the face of adversity to deliver these important community projects and provide support for those in need.

"While it's been another year of COVID disruption, it's also been a time of triumph in the face of adversity, challenging us to do things differently, come together as a community and support each other during this difficult period," Cr Nelmes said.

"I'm proud of the proactive response City of Newcastle adopted in 2020 and 2021 to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and forge ahead with a record $103 million in new and renewed community facilities and infrastructure.

“The projects are fundamental to enhancing the way our communities work and live, as well as ensuring we continue to be an attractive destination for visitors and investment.

"Delivering in 2021 has required an immense effort from City of Newcastle staff and members of the community who play an active role in our projects throughout the public consultation process. In light of the challenges presented by the pandemic, this is an achievement to be celebrated more so than ever before."

In the past 12 months CN has renewed local centres at Joslin Street in Kotara, Llewellyn Street in Merewether and Hamilton's James Street, invested more than $1.3 million in playground upgrades at Novocastrian Park and Dangar Park, started work on the $1.5 million Wallsend Active Hub recreational space and playground, continued work on the Bathers Way upgrade at South Newcastle Beach, completed the first stage of the Merewether to City Centre cycleway, and completed planning for stage one of the long-awaited upgrade to the Newcastle Ocean Baths.

CN also expanded its Community and Economic Resilience Package to help combat the ongoing economic and social impacts of COVID-19, delivering a targeted program with hardship measures for ratepayers, support for small businesses and impacted sectors, assistance for local charities and families in need, and job saving investment into local infrastructure projects.

Environmental and sustainability issues remained in focus, with CN continuing to implement its Climate Action Plan, which has a net zero commitment for its operations by 2025. CN invested more than $1.1 million into planting street and park trees and continued its roll-out of rooftop solar systems at key facilities.

Newcastle strengthened its reputation as a major events city attracting a host of international events including the World Surfing League championship tour event, while CN celebrated the success of its inaugural flagship cultural event, New Annual, which delivered an economic and confidence boost to the local arts sector and community while also cementing the city’s status as a hub of creativity and culture.

CN launched its Destination Management Plan, which is a collaborative, whole of industry approach designed to reposition Newcastle as a premier tourism destination, while the new Economic Development Strategy will strengthen existing and create new economic opportunities by investing in people, their skills, network and investments, in order to position Newcastle as a global city recognised for its innovation and creativity.

The delivery of The Count Us In Festival and the launch of CN’s draft Disability and Inclusion Action Plan placed the focus on enhancing inclusion and accessibility across Newcastle, while CN's commitment to celebrating and sharing its rich indigenous culture was expressed through a range of programs including the award-winning NAIDOC Week podcast series, Newcastle’s First Storytellers, and the landmark Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait, which coincided with the flying of the Torres Strait Island flag above City Hall for the first time.

"While I think we're all looking forward to the end of this year and spending some time with our loved ones over the festive season, it's important to take stock and recognise just how much we delivered this year," Cr Nelmes said.

"This is just a small sample of what we have achieved during the past 12 months, but it provides a valuable snapshot of what can be done by working together and supporting each other.

“I thank everyone involved for the milestones we have reached this year and look forward to continuing this journey together in 2022."

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