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Thursday, February 25, 2021

City of Newcastle explores COVID-19 recovery strategy

City of Newcastle is currently developing a 10-year Economic Development Strategy to guide Newcastle’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and is asking the community for help.

The strategy will offer solutions for the city’s economy, and also strives to empower, retain and attract people with future-proofed skills in order to create equal opportunity for all community members.

Local youth are being asked to join the conversation since the COVID-19 economic crisis is disproportionately impacting 18-to-25-year-olds, driving the Hunter Valley’s unemployment rate among young people to just over 20%.

City of Newcastle has partnered with TAFE NSW Newcastle, HunterNet and Hunter Young Professionals to engage with young people and encourage discussion through youth-specific workshops.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was more important than ever to identify future economic opportunities, given the city’s almost one in 10 unemployment rate.

“City of Newcastle’s Economic Development Strategy will focus on long-term actions to help create new jobs, drive investment and promote innovation,” she said.

“When the pandemic first hit, City of Newcastle was one of the first councils across Australia to act, adopting a $5.5 million Community and Economic Resilience Package with a range of programs to support community wellbeing and maximise cashflow.

A range of recovery programs will be explored under the umbrella terms: Enabling Skills, Enabling Innovation, City-Shaping Initiatives, and Facilitating a Vibrant City.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen also weighed in, noting the collaborative leadership and advocacy City of Newcastle has achieved alongside the City Taskforce.

“Now, we are turning our attention to creating new long-term opportunities for our city, and we are seeking the community’s input,” he said.

City of Newcastle’s website is now open for community feedback, with submissions closing on Monday 7 December.

An initial draft of the strategy will be presented to the council early next year.