On 8 June 1859 Newcastle Municipal Council was one of the first local councils created in the State after legislation was passed in 1858. The first Council boundaries covered a small area in the inner city and served a population of 2,400. Newcastle was declared a Lord Mayoralty in 1948 with Ald H. D. Quinlan as the City’s first Lord Mayor. In 1974 Joy Cummings was elected as the first female Lord Mayor in Newcastle and Australia.
Newcastle is located about 160 km north of Sydney. It is Australia’s seventh-largest city and is the centre of the Greater Newcastle Region, the largest regional centre in NSW. It has a population of 171,307 inhabitants with a median age of 37, and 3.5% of this total being aboriginal and torres strait islander population. Newcastle is the economic hub of the Hunter Region, with an international profile as a major port city and a gateway to the world for the Hunter’s rich resources. More than 130 languages are spoken at home. The City of Newcastle has adopted the SDGs, which are embeded in our community, environmental, and sustainability planning.
CN acknowledges that there are challenges facing Newcastle in our journey to becoming a liveable, sustainable, thriving global city. Research has identified significant shifts in environmental, economic and social conditions that will play out over the coming decades. Acknowledgement of these challenges and identification of how they can be mitigated, or even turned into opportunities, will be key to delivering Newcastle’s vision.
- Just Transition
Newcastle has emerged as Australia’s leading post-industrial Gateway City. It is managing a transition from a heavy industrial past to a more diverse and innovative knowledge and services-led economy, yet retaining important ties to industrial capability, engineering and manufacturing that see it well-positioned to leverage growth sectors of the new economy. The mining sector continues to play a significant role in our local economy – particularly coal. There is opportunity for economic restructuring towards ecological and social sustainability through creation of new green jobs, as well as provision of support for people and communities who might be disadvantaged during the change process. To assist in this transition, City of Newcastle has endorsed an Economic Development Strategy which aligns with The New Local, a series of ten principles which provide a roadmap to restart, renew and reboot our local economy in a post COVID-19 and climate emergency world. New Local advocates for a people-centred and place-led approach to economic development, which builds resilient and regenerative communities, cities, towns and main streets.
- Affordable Housing
Forecasts show that Newcastle’s population is set to grow to 199,700 by 2041 – an increase of 28,393 residents, stimulating demand for some 19,450 new dwellings. A mix of affordable and sustainable future housing is imperative to meet the diverse needs of our growing community. Unfortunately, due to a significant shortfall in the supply of longer-term social (and affordable) housing, housing unaffordability (‘housing stress’) and homelessness for our vulnerable families and individuals is increasing. Newcastle’s housing affordability problem for lower-income households has become acute and its impact is being felt strongly.
- Equitable Climate Action
The climate emergency has become the key social and economic challenge of the 21st century. We are already beginning to glimpse the impacts of a changing climate on our everyday lives. The likely effects of more extreme climate events include more frequent and widespread bushfires, flooding, extreme heat, coastal erosion, rising sea levels and increased risk of disease and pandemics – all with indeterminate impact on our economic and social fabric. Our city acts on climate change to achieve net zero emissions and build resilience in our community, infrastructure and natural areas.
The City of Newcastle has adopted the SDGs, which are embeded in our community, environmental, and sustainability planning. Our commitments underpin our planning instruments, including our Community Strategic Plan: Newcastle 2040 and inform the actions we take, the choices we make, the behaviours we demonstrate and the interactions we have.