Key news and published articles

  • Watch: Lower Hunter Water Security Plan

    Wednesday, 8 September, 2021


    Hear about the newly launched draft of Hunter Water's Lower Hunter Water Security Plan

    Watch a recording of this event which was held on the 8 September 2021.

    Centre Director, Professor Roberta Ryan joined Hunter Water's Managing Director Darren Cleary as he outlined the priorities in the Plan, which focuses on providing a sustainable and resilient water supply for the region in response to increased climate variability and forecast population growth. 

    Facilitated by Committee for the Hunter CEO, Alice Thompson the fourth speaker was Danielle Francis of Water Services Association Australia.

    Watch now

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  • Watch: Two years with COVID-19

    Tuesday, 31 August, 2021


    Two years with COVID-19: a tale of carrots, sticks and megaphones. 

    Watch a recording of this event which was held on 31 August 2021.

    A team of global experts and Hunter Research Foundation Centre - HRF Centre's Academic Director Professor Roberta Ryan discusses two years with COVID-19.

    The emergence of variants, together with vaccine hesitancy, wait and see verses firm-hand approaches, and communication and mental health challenges pose an increasing test to people, industries and policymakers navigating the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The interactive Q&A session was opened by Professor Ryan and featured distinguished global leaders from industry and academia. Featuring: 

    • Professor Francesco Paolucci - Economist, University of Newcastle 
    • Anca del Rio - The Digital Aid Project, Switzerland
    • Jurgen Brohmer - Lawyer, Murdoch University, Australia
    • Anika Stobart - Grattan Institute, Australia
    • Kristen Armstrong - Actuary, Taylor Fry, Australia

    Watch now

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  • Independent Community Commissioner Report

    Impacts of planning and development
    Friday, 27 August, 2021


    The University's Professor Roberta Ryan was appointed the Independent Community Commissioner for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes in May.

    Today, she released her report into the impacts of planning and development on small landowners living in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, and recommendations to Government for a fair and equitable way forward.

    She met with more than 100 landowners across the Aerotropolis to understand more about their concerns and experiences, and a common theme she heard was a high level of distress caused by uncertainty and poor communication.

    Many feel the rezoning of their land has dramatically reduced the value of their property – which may be their only asset. For others, the rezoning has increased their land value and their local council rates have sky-rocketed into the tens-of-thousands-of-dollars that few can afford.

    Professor Ryan's report comprises 40 recommendations to the NSW Government to address three key areas:

    • Improving communication and engagement with the community
    • Focusing on specific landowner impacts
    • Establishing robust mechanisms within Government for ongoing support.

    Download the overview and the full report which include the Government's initial response.

    Professor Ryan's role as the Community Commissioner has been extended to oversee the implementation of my recommendations and to continue to advocate for small landowners in the Aerotropolis. 

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  • Economic insights presented at Maitland Chamber event

    Sunday, 1 August, 2021


    Dr Anthea Bill shared her insights at the Maitland Business Chamber luncheon on 29 July. Her presentation included:

    • Performance of housing prices compared to neighbouring LGAs
    • Demographic profiles - changes and forecasts
    • Business registrations by industry
    • A look at the post-pandemic environment - implications, shifting labour markets and workforce preferences.

    Download the presentation

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  • New arts sector report on the impact of COVID-19

    Special focus on the Hunter region
    Tuesday, 13 July, 2021


    The arts and culture sectors have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19. New research by the Hunter Research Foundation Centre provides one of the first analyses into the impact of the pandemic on the arts sector in an Australian regional centre.

    Among the research findings was that COVID-19 had an immediate effect on employment and income and, especially for younger people, associated social and psychological impacts of social isolation, challenges reaching audiences and creative expression. Despite this, during the pandemic, the arts and culture sector has been critical to maintaining overall community and individual wellbeing and social cohesion, made possible through innovative online and digital platforms.

    The research also found that while the crisis was felt throughout the arts and culture sector, the impact was not equal for all activities and workers. Nor was it equal across Australian cities and regions, or across individuals and different arts and culture organisations.

    The research was commissioned by the Hunter Creative Alliance (formerly ICAN) and funded by the City of Newcastle.

    The research aims to provide a baseline to benchmark the current state of play for the arts and culture sector in Newcastle, and recommendations to inform policy and strategic planning for the city and its arts organisations. Importantly, it also provides insights and lessons for other major regional centres.


    Read more SallyAnn Hunting Download PDF (1.31 MB)
  • Gateway Cities Alliance Webinar Series

    Thursday, 17 September, 2020

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    Australia’s metropolitan capital cities face escalating population growth that presents significant challenges for urban planning and sustainable development. Increasingly, the focus is turning to our major regional cities to better understand their economic and social contribution and to develop strategies for growth. 

    The Gateway Cities Webinar Series brings together thought leaders across academia, all levels of government, and the private sector to examine the opportunities for the Gateway Cities of Wollongong, Newcastle and Geelong.

    The 2020 series comprises:

    Gateway Cities: Population Post Covid-19  |  Watch the webinar
    What does the data say about the attractions of the Gateway Cities in a post-COVID world compared to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane? The second webinar was hosted by HRF Centre and the University of Newcastle on 20 October. 


    The Future of Work - Who, How and Where
    ues. 24 November - 11am-12noon | Hosted by the University of Wollongong
    Join us to discuss the jobs of the future, employment pathways and the ability to work from anywhere. Register now

    How supply chains are contributing to the growth of our regions
    The first webinar was hosted by Deakin University on 22 September. Watch it now

    The Gateway Cities Alliance works together to provide a collaborative and collective approach to ease population pressures on Australia’s Gateway cities. The shared and unique characteristics and strategic assets of the cities of Wollongong, Newcastle and Geelong can be deployed to maximise national economic growth, regional resilience and job creation for Australia’s long-term settlement strategy.

    Australia’s Gateway Cities share the following characteristics: geographically well-defined jurisdictions that are predominantly urban while still allowing for a significant agricultural economic base. Gateway Cities also undertake significant public administration and public policy functions, which may have a direct impact on the governance and well-being of the nation in addition to the relevant Capital City. 

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