President's Message

A great start to the year

Sold out! As our guests started to arrive, you could be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t enough room to accommodate everybody, as it was a full house for our first luncheon of the year. In an hospitable manner the NBC committee and staff at Harbourview seated our members and guests for the first luncheon of the year. There was enough room, just – for another enjoyable and relaxing lunch, delivered to the high standards we are familiar with.  I would like to thank our Vice President, Holly Martin, for facilitating the lunch in my absence, as she did a tremendous job pulling things together.

What a cracker of a lunch. Our panel of Mayors delivered their messages on how they support business in their local areas. I would like to thank the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes, Mayor of Lake Macquarie Kay Fraser and Mayor of Maitland Peter Blackmore for their generous time in addressing the club’s members and guests.

For those in attendance it was interesting to hear the extent of each council’s business model. Councils no longer consider themselves as the organisations who receive rates to fix roads and collect the garbage. They are emphasising the uniqueness of their local area to tourists, outside business and people interested in moving to the region. The Hunter is very diverse and the scale of each council’s marketing and branding campaigns promoting the uniqueness of the area and opportunities in the Hunter was a pleasant surprise.

All of the councillors emphasised technology advancements as a key driver to prosperity in each of their regions. It is an area of focus which is acknowledged as important for small business. It was also an observation that despite the councils being close geographically and cooperating at various levels, more collaboration around promotion of the Hunter would be of great benefit for everybody.

Most importantly, the Mayors were passionate about their region and their people. This shone through the different presentation styles of each counsellor.

Our next luncheon is something our members and guests should not miss. The Hunter has been fortunate as one of the first areas for the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  The opportunities and benefits to the region are profound. I am very excited about the speakers, content and format of this luncheon discussing the topic of in the NDIS.

As they say in politics, a day is a very long time. In my last newsletter, I announced that Senator John Ajaka would be our guest along with a representative of the Commonwealth Bank and a local disability service provider ConnectAbility.  As it turns out, Gladys Berejiklian had other ideas in relation to this portfolio and appointed the Honourable Senator Ray Williams in her new government.  We are happy to announce that the new senator is honouring all of the commitments of his predecessor and will be attending our lunch as the guest speaker.  We will look forward to meeting the new Minister Ray Williams and hearing his fresh views on this important portfolio.

The benefits of the NDIS are far-reaching. With over 35,000 new positions being appointed in the Hunter region alone over the next three years, the impact will be positive not only for people with disabilities but all of the services and infrastructure required to support this.

It is a luncheon not to miss and I look forward to welcoming you.

See you at the lunches this year,

Dene Kilpatrick | 2017 President