Thursday, 29 November, 2018


The HRF Centre led a collaborative effort to stage the Second Cities: Smaller and Smarter Symposium in October.

The Centre, Hunter Water, the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation and AECOM were Lead Partners in the Symposium. The event cultivated understanding among delegates of the economic and social drivers for cities such as Greater Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong. It also showcased Newcastle as an emerging global city.

Forty-five expert speakers and panellists addressed the three key themes of innovation, infrastructure and liveability over the two-day symposium. A total of 187 participants represented 80 organisations.

Symposium host, Kyle Loades, stated that the event helped to build insight, dialogue, and trust among leaders in Greater Newcastle’s government, academic and business sectors.

Loades led a final session to explore: where to next? The participants were from state and local government, the private sector, industry groups, the community sector and the university. They worked in groups to brainstorm their insights and bolster the development of Greater Newcastle.

Across the groups came a consistent call for greater collaboration and transparent governance within and between tiers of government and with the private and public sectors.

Each group nominated two priorities that they considered critical to Greater Newcastle. There was significant overlap among the groups, with the following key areas of focus:

  • A compelling vision
    • delivers a sense of ownership for the community
    • requires collaboration
    • longer time frames for looking forward: 20 to 50 year
  • A clear brand and identity
    • for the city and its people
    • many believe the identity exists but is not captured and articulated clearly
    • embracing a progressive agenda
    • attract and develop hero experiences
  • Progress of key infrastructure
    • airport upgrade
    • create health and innovation precinct
    • true coordination around a major project
  • Enhanced liveability (including inclusivity)
    • a decent cultural space: museum or art gallery
    • investment in creative industries to enhance social fabric
  • Economic and cultural diversification
    • job opportunities
    • a stronger role for the university
    • better support for small business
    • resilience
    • build on core strengths: engineering, health, education
  • Measurement and benchmarking (nationally and internationally)
    • seek international funding schemes

The HRF Centre will explore these areas in its upcoming research and engagement, including a possible Second Cities Symposium 2019. Along these lines, the Centre’s Hunter economic breakfast series will have an over-arching theme of Collaboration and Vision.