City’s new civic and community hub and COVID-19 response win state accolades

07 June 2021

City of Newcastle has been recognised with two major awards at the New South Wales Local Government Awards in Sydney on Thursday evening.

The City’s COVID-19 Community and Economic Resilience Package, as well as its Community and Civic Hub, which includes the Digital Library, Council Chambers and Customer Service Centre, won first place in their respective categories.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the two awards were testament to the City’s leadership and staff’s unwavering commitment to serve and support the Newcastle community.

“The awards are an outstanding achievement and recognise City of Newcastle’s innovation and culture of continuous improvement,” Cr Nelmes said.

“City of Newcastle is leading the way with its digital transformation and ability to provide support to the community.

“The City Administration Centre’s flexible ground floor layout is a brilliant space to learn and master new digital technologies that are now available free to everyone.

“With state-of-the-art technology, the space has been designed to optimise the customer experience. Visitors flow seamlessly between Customer Service and the Digital Library and on most Tuesday nights, the space transforms into the Council Chamber. The new digitally connected Chamber has allowed the elected council to meet in hybrid formats (remotely and in-person) thanks to the new technology.

“The project has transformed the way these elements operate in a co-located environment. 

“Whether people need to enquire about a DA, speak with a Customer Service representative or access the many hundreds of thousands of items in the City’s e-Library catalogue, the City Administration Centre offers a seamless experience for the community to get the most out of a visit.

“We are extremely pleased our city boasts the most digitally-advanced library in NSW for learning, whether it be for children or adults.

“I am equally proud that City of Newcastle’s Community and Economic Resilience Package was acknowledged for helping locals through the unprecedented impacts of the pandemic, especially our most vulnerable and at-risk community members.

“Among the first governments at any level to develop and activate a comprehensive plan for social and economic support, the City’s package has been acknowledged for its targeted and swift response to the needs of the community.

“Working with government and local partners, the $5.5 million response package delivered support across targeted programs at a time when it was needed most. The response included financial relief, business and community support, free online training packages and community grant programs.”

“The City’s support for small and media enterprises has been highlighted as national best practice and a model for all local governments.”