Up to four of Newcastle’s 117 playgrounds are replaced each year as part of the City’s asset renewal works program.

City of Newcastle will spend $8.2 million in parks, playgrounds and sporting fields this year as COVID-19 forces families to increasingly look to their own neighbourhoods for places to exercise or play with the kids.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City is prioritising new infrastructure in response to COVID-19, with a record $116 million capital works program.

Councils are the hub of their communities, responsible for everything from libraries, galleries, museums and community events, to childcare centres, development assessments, environmental maintenance and even cemeteries,” the Lord Mayor said.

Our neighbourhood parks and open spaces are vital city infrastructure, and during the past five years we have delivered approximately $6.5 million in new and upgraded playgrounds across our city and suburbs, including the new Brickworks Park and Carrington Street Reserve playgrounds in Wallsend.

In 2020/21 we will continue this investment in locations such as Novocastrian Park in New Lambton, Gross Street Reserve at Tighes Hill, King Edward Park in Cooks Hill and Dangar Park in Mayfield.

We’re also planning a new active hub in Wallsend, while also completing the significant upgrade to Stevenson Park in Mayfield West.”

Work on recently completed playground at Brickworks Park in Wallsend include an all-abilities carousel, boulder climb, nest swing, rope ladder, and a slide.

Carrington Street Reserve playground was upgraded with a new plank walk, suspension bridge, double slide, tube net and other activities.

$500,000 for COVID-19 hit local industries

Newcastle’s tourism, entertainment and arts community will benefit from more than $500,000 from the City of Newcastle to city-shaping projects targeting those industries hardest hit by COVID-19.

Developed in collaboration with the City Taskforce, comprising 17 leaders from business, community and educational sectors, the response program will foster community connections and industry resilience.

Collaborative partnerships from the Hunter Writers Centre, Field Frequency, University of Newcastle, Olive Tree Markets and the Business Centre have received funding for unique projects that will boost the local economy.

Newcastle Business Chamber CEO and City Taskforce Member Bob Hawes said the industry targeted funding approach has resulted in projects that present new opportunities for businesses, locals and visitors to support Newcastle’s economy.

“Now more than ever, people are looking to explore their own backyard as they recognise the need to support local businesses,” Mr Hawes said.

If we want to be able to return to the lifestyle we enjoyed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to support our local businesses now to ensure that they can survive this unprecedented economic and social disruption.

The successful grant recipients showcase what the region can achieve when we harness the collective knowledge of our corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors.”

University of Newcastle – Hometown Holiday

The Hometown Holiday project will incentivise Newcastle residents to have a ‘hometown holiday’ inclusive of overnight accommodation and curated experience itineraries. Locals will be encouraged to visit Newcastle as tourists and engage with the City as a tourism destination, providing economic benefits to local tourism businesses.

Field Frequency – Smart City LIVE Music TV Show

Field Frequency will produce a live-stream music series, using live-stream broadcast collaborations to maximise the recovery of the local arts and entertainment industry. The show will showcase a diverse range of established musicians and new talent growing the City’s identity as a collaborative and inclusive community.

The Business Centre – Small Business Recovery Centre

The COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Project will provide much needed support and advice to local businesses, curated and coordinated by the Business Centre and based at 265 King Street. The Centre will bring together government and non-government agencies, banks and financial services providers, mental health and well-being providers, to offer support and provide information, and services, that lead to sustainability and job creation, to small businesses during and after COVID-19.

Hunter Writers Centre Inc – Multi-arts activation

Hunter Writers Centre will lead a multi-arts activation benefiting local arts, cultural, and tourism businesses. The project will include exhibition studio spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers, musicians, visual and digital artists and performers to develop work for exhibitions of cultural and maritime history and stories of local sites.

The Olive Tree Market – The Olive Tree Virtual Online Platform

The Virtual Olive Tree Market Platform will develop new income generating opportunities, capacity building and educational workshops for local creatives. Existing customers, supporters, and new online audiences will be targeted to buy local online, to re-connect and forge ongoing connections with creatives.

Picture caption: Tamara Young from University of Newcastle, Matt Field from Field Frequency, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Justine Gaudry from Olive Tree Markets, Steve Wait from The Business Centre and Karen Crofts from Hunter Writer’s Centre.

Preliminary OK to new climate action plan

The Newcastle Climate Action Plan 2021-25 outlines priorities for the City and community to minimise carbon emissions, embrace sustainable transport, deploy clean technology and support low-emission industries.

The plan proposes to reduce fuel use by transitioning to electric vehicles, increasing battery storage to lessen the City’s reliance on the electricity grid, cutting emissions via LED lighting replacements and building upgrades, and encouraging development of sustainable buildings.

Over the next five years the plan will specifically target:

  • A 20 per cent reduction in electricity use, based on 2019/20 consumption
  • Replacing all lighting, including streetlights, with LED or the best alternative
  • A 50 per cent reduction in fuel use, based on 2019/20 consumption
  • A 50 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions.

The draft plan also covers better resource management, headlined by an organics processing facility at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre; recycling initiatives and infrastructure, use of more recycled products in construction, water-efficient technologies, community-owned renewables projects and solar garden innovation.  

Community engagement on the new plan helped build on the 2020 Carbon Water Management Action Plan (CWMAP), which delivered a five-megawatt solar farm, rooftop solar panels, LED streetlights and a 100 per cent renewable energy deal. 

Under the 2020 CWMAP, the City has:

  • Reduced electricity usage by 17 per cent
  • Upgraded 31 per cent of streetlights to LEDs
  • Secured 100 per cent of electricity from renewable sources
  • Reduced potable water usage by more than 8 per cent
  • Slashed the City’s carbon footprint by 77 per cent, excluding emissions from Summerhill Waste Management Centre
  • Reduced liquid fuel use by 77 per cent

The draft 2025 Climate Action Plan will be available for comment from Tuesday 4 August until 5pm Monday 31 August by visiting

Stockton CMP for certification

The Final Draft Stockton Coastal Management Program 2020 (Stockton CMP) was unanimously endorsed by the elected Council last month and will now be considered by the Minister for Local Government for review and certification assessment under the Coastal Management Act 2016.

The submission of the Stockton CMP to the State Government follows a successful public exhibition period. CN received a total of 175 submissions of which three quarters were supportive of the plan, an outstanding outcome for a public exhibition. All government agencies were also supportive of the CMP.

The plan determined a mass offshore marine sand replacement campaign of 2.4 million cubic metres, followed by ongoing 10-year maintenance would provide the necessary protection for Stockton’s coastline. The Deputy Premier’s Taskforce and the State Government will explore where to source sand for mass offshore beach replacement.

The plan also outlined an initial sand nourishment program costing $4 million from land-based or other permissible sources, as well as essential work to address the imminent risk to community assets and private property including minimal extensions of the existing buried seawalls. 

The Stockton CMP will now be submitted to the Minister for Local Government for certification under the Coastal Management Act 2016. Once certified, the Stockton CMP takes effect on the date it is published in the NSW Government Gazette.

To find out more about the Stockton CMP, visit