City leaders join forces in historic coordination of COVID-19 recovery

18 Apr 2020

Seventeen CEOs and city leaders met today via video link to develop a blueprint for Newcastle’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 

The City Taskforce consists of business, industry and government representatives from key sectors across the local economy, from education to finance to tourism and the arts. 

All leaders openly shared insights on the significant impact to their business, industry and most importantly, their people and customers. 

City of Newcastle’s City Taskforce consists of: 

  • City of Newcastle, Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes, Chair 
  • Hunter New England Health CEO Mr Michael DiRienzo  
  • Wests Group CEO, Mr Philip Gardner 
  • NIB CEO, Mr Mark Fitzgibbon  
  • Port of Newcastle CEO, Mr Craig Carmody  
  • University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO  
  • Colliers International Managing Director, Mr Peter Macadam  
  • Greater Bank CEO, Mr Scott Morgan  
  • Hunter Business Chamber CEO Mr Bob Hawes  
  • Hunternet CEO, Mr Tony Cade  
  • Independent Creative Alliance’s Ms Justine Coggan  
  • Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock  
  • Alloggio CEO, Mr Will Creedon  
  • Newcastle Permanent CEO, Ms Bernadette Inglis  
  • Regional NSW Director, Ms Alison McGaffin  
  • Samaritans CEO, Mr Brad Webb  
  • Hunter Workers Secretary, Mr Daniel Wallace.

City of Newcastle has committed $500,000 to the project, as well as in-kind support, as part of its COVID-19 Community and Economic Development Resilience Package, while each organisation will provide staffing resources to implement initiatives. 

This will initially fund an Expression of Interest (EOI) program to provide innovative and targeted responses to those local industries hardest hit by the virus. 

Chaired by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, the Taskforce will coordinate a concerted, strategic approach to recovery. 

“This is an historic moment in the City’s response to this global crisis, as we work to maximise the capacity and speed of our recovery,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“Never before has our city seen such an unprecedented level of collaboration amongst its leaders. 

“I’d like to thank all 17 CEOs for accepting my invitation to give their time to the Taskforce. Each has their own responsibilities in terms of leading their organisations’ response during and out of COVID-19. 

“Despite this, they are making time to assist City of Newcastle in ensuring that we leave no stone unturned in identifying anything and everything that can be done to help our city now and during its medium to long term recovery.” 

The Taskforce will liaise with lead agencies Hunter New England Health for Public Health updates; Regional NSW on government responses; and the Hunter Research Foundation Centre around economic impacts. 

It will meet fortnightly through to the year’s end. While the Taskforce has been established as a Newcastle-centric initiative, its benefits will be felt well beyond LGA boundaries

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