Record capital works and a booming visitor economy as City of Newcastle wraps up 2023

City of Newcastle

Delivering a record $117.8 million capital works program, hosting two of the greatest musicians of all time, beginning the rejuvenation of Stockton Beach and a return to swimming at Newcastle Ocean Baths are just some of the highlights City of Newcastle (CN) is celebrating following another big year of milestones and achievements.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who this year became one of Newcastle’s longest serving Lord Mayors, reaching nine years in the role praised City of Newcastle staff and gave thanks to the community when reflecting on 2023.

CEO Jeremy Bath and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes join City of Newcastle staff at the Works Depot Christmas party

“I want to thank the people of Newcastle, who have repeatedly supported our Council to show leadership and take tough decisions to deliver the change our city has needed,” Cr Nelmes said.

The Lord Mayor praised the City’s staff across the entire organisation for continuing to serve the community, including residents, workers, visitors, community groups and businesses.

“2023 has given us all plenty of reasons to be proud of ourselves, proud to be Novocastrians, and proud to work for a local government that is leading the way,” Cr Nelmes said.

Just this week swimmers made their long-awaited return to Newcastle Ocean Baths, with a celebration poolside for the completion of stage one of the multi-million dollar upgrade of the much love community facility.

This year City of Newcastle demonstrated a commitment to sustainability with CN spending $376.5 million this year to provide services and facilities to more than 169,000 residents, while recording a modest surplus of $7.8 million.

CN’s record $117.8 million capital works program included the Lugar Park amenities upgrade in Kotara, drainage upgrades at Smith Street, Merewether, the multipurpose sports and community hub at Myer Park, Adamstown, as well as road pavement stabilisation works at Kinta Drive, Beresfield and new traffic control signals at Chinchen Street, Islington.

As part of the Local Centres Program work is progressing at Orchardtown Road in New Lambton, with a future project for Georgetown now in the planning stage.

CN’s ongoing investment in recreational spaces saw five new local playgrounds officially opened in Fletcher, Waratah, Birmingham Gardens, Beresfield and Mayfield.

In January, Elton John entertained almost 50,000 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium backed up by Paul McCartney’s historic first concert outside an Australian capital city. The shows were secured as part of City of Newcastle’s Major Events Partnership with Venues NSW and injected an estimated $23 million into the local economy.

There was more big entertainment news thanks to Come From Away’s record-breaking season at the Civic Theatre, with 21,500 theatregoers from across the Hunter and beyond attending 23 shows.

In May, Newcastle was hailed as the ‘Top Tourism Town’ by Business NSW at the Local Government NSW Destination & Visitor Economy Conference, in recognition of its strategic initiatives to increase visitation and support tourism development for local operators.

Home grown hero Emily Van Egmond was awarded a Key to the City of Newcastle in August in recognition of the Matildas’ heroic efforts during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

New Annual returned in September with a range of amazing acts and performers. Newcastle’s flagship arts and culture festival has registered around 95,000 visitors and featured more than 1,500 visiting and local artists during its first three years, encouraging council to endorse a new 5-year commitment.

In October, the Newcastle Knights women were honoured with a civic reception at City Hall after beating the Gold Coast Titans in the grand final to claim their second-straight NRLW premiership.

Newcastle also earned the right to host Game Two of the 2024 Women’s State of Origin series at McDonald Jones Stadium on June 6.

Also that month Stockton residents celebrated the arrival of a 75-metre-long dredger spraying a rainbow of sand off the coastline, depositing 100,000 cubic metres to help renourish the beach.

November saw City of Newcastle and the RAAF host the largest single day event in the region’s history with the Newcastle Williamtown Air Show attracting around 100,000 spectators and delivering an estimated economic output of $19.5 million, with hotels reporting a 97% occupancy rate over the weekend.

/Public Release. View in full here.