GRADUATES don’t have it easy in this town. After five years of Sydney-based study I’d love to work in Newcastle, but the fact is Newcastle doesn’t want my qualifications.
I count more of my high school peers in the “brain drain” than otherwise, their home-grown skills and ambition lost to another city.
With limited opportunities for entry-level graduates, the link road is a one-way street for many young professionals.
Despite having a university that The Times puts among the world’s top 3per cent, we continue to educate another city’s labour force and, by extension, strengthen another city’s competitive advantage.
Talking to graduates and entrepreneurs, you get the sense that too many young Novocastrians see crossing the Hawkesbury as an inevitable rite of passage. There is a tradition of leaving Newcastle, and generally speaking this can be healthy and beneficial.
Smart, vibrant cities, big and small alike, are built on the opportunities they create for sharing cultures and ideas. People aren’t born in New York the New Yorkers tell you.
No matter where you grow up, I believe there is something to be gained from leaving your home town for a few years.
The problem is, for regional cities like Newcastle at least, how many of us come back?
Our city needs to start reaping more of what it sows. We need to stop wasting so much energy on debating aesthetics and start nurturing the next big thing for our bottom line.
Heavy rail to Watt Street or not, young talent is going to keep hitting the Pacific Motorway if they don’t have access to the good-paying, interesting jobs that they’re qualified to do.
Revitalising Newcastle needs to move beyond tidying up empty buildings. It’s time to start a conversation about repurposing the whole interior of the local economy so that our city and our building stock will be attractive to businesses that don’t even exist yet.
After speaking with the owners of Sydney- and Melbourne-based start-up companies last week, I am convinced that Newcastle could thrive as the Start-Up capital.
The conversations go like this: “What sort of support do you get from your local council down there?” Silence, then they laugh.
In more cases than not, start-up companies have picked Melbourne or Sydney for absolutely no reason at all.
Critical mass might be important to the delivery guy, but if you’re inventing the next Seek苏州美甲美睫培训.au or PocketBook app there’s no reason you couldn’t be on Hunter Street paying less rent and talking to Silicon Valley on Skype.
In his book Walkable City, Jeff Speck argues that the days of luring new businesses to town with tax breaks and land deals are over. Instead, cities like Newcastle need to start reorientating economic development around a vibrant downtown core where people want to be.
Twenty-somethings with limited financial commitments and a clear diary don’t want to be in Macquarie Park on a Friday afternoon. Trust me.
Our East End, an entirely walkable, medium-density neighbourhood made up of cafes and restaurants, is ripe for this sort of branding and investment. The social infrastructure that came with Marcus Westbury’s Renew initiative has made the precinct a safe place for creative minds to dip their toes into emerging markets and, if all goes well, set up shop for good.
If we can embrace this culture in our broader framework for economic development, focusing on a “hand-holding” approach to cash-strapped risk-takers for their first five years, Newcastle could become the first Australian city to actively foster start-up companies.
We’re a cool city with a ridiculously fantastic lifestyle.
I want to see a bus stuck in the George Street crawl wrapped up in a picture of Bar Beach that says: “I’m opening my business here. How’s Zetland?”
The first step is to get this idea under one roof, a one-stop-shop for start-ups and also venture capital investment.
Strategic partnerships with the local business community could capture valuable expertise for the benefit of entrepreneurs, reducing barriers to entry by providing discounted access to accountants and consultants.
Our financial institutions, insurance companies and consultancy firms can only benefit from new talent coming into town, and ideally they will be picking up long-term clients.
Once this infrastructure is in place, we need to create serious noise. The whole conversation about Newcastle needs to change. We need to stop playing catch-up and position ourselves as an industry leader again, even if in the beginning we’re not.
Confident people aren’t attracted to insecure cities. It’s time for Newcastle to take stock of its achievements and competitive advantages, settle on what the place looks like, and move forward with a big idea that nobody is going to expect to come out of Steel City.
Call to aid wine bar culture
A SEVENTH-generation Novocastrian, Matthew Endacott was raised in the Maitland area and left the Hunter in 2009 to complete a bachelor of economics at Sydney University.
Recently finishing his honours in English literature, the 22-year-old has been searching for a job in Newcastle for the past few years without success.
Currently employed in tourism and marketing at the Sydney Opera House, he is a supporter of Renew Newcastle’s cause and began a petition to support the opening of small wine bars in the city.
While supportive of the curfew placed on city pubs that led to a decrease in CBD violence, he said the initiative made it impossible for more sophisticated drinking venues to open, which he argues would regenerate the city in a positive way.
He remains hopeful of finding a job in Newcastle in economic development, relating to strengthening communities.
Matthew Endacott would love to work in Newcastle, but says the city doesn’t want his skills. Picture Jonathan Carroll
NOVOCASTRIANS, talk up your town and do your bit to entice enterprise to the region.
That’s the message from key Newcastle business figures in response to the stark warning from Hunter-raised university graduate Matthew Endacott that the region’s youth ‘‘brain drain’’ is continuing unabated due to a lack of business diversification and employment opportunities.
Mr Endacott says that while business accelerator Slingshot and the upcoming design, interactive technology and green tech (DiG) festival are helping cement Newcastle as a ‘‘start-up city’’, a more unified effort is required to spruik its wider potential.
Urging Newcastle City Council to show more leadership and residents to ‘‘create more noise’’, he has also called on businesses to form a ‘‘one-stop-shop’’ offering pro-bono or cheap advice to entrepreneurs considering moving to the region.
‘‘If nothing else it’s a tangible, visible attempt at doing something as opposed to just saying ‘why not come to Newcastle, the rent is cheap’,’’ he said.
‘‘And in a best-case scenario, businesses and jobs would be created, and those companies who give their time will get long-term clients.’’
Mr McCloy, who has met Mr Endacott numerous times, said the graduate exodus could be stemmed by boosting the city’s population with more high-density living, encouraging government departments to relocate their operations to the region and building a new university in the CBD.
He said council was playing a role by pushing through development applications ‘‘quickly and properly’’.
‘‘There is an air of optimism out there, you only have to look at the wine bars and coffee shops popping up, you’d think there would be saturation but they all seem pretty full – vibrancy is returning,’’ he said.
Brendan Brooks, the president of digital industry taskforce Hunter DiGit, supported Mr Endacott’s concerns, saying councils and business chambers must be more pro-active.
‘‘Traditional organisations need to be thinking about the future businesses we need in the city, because while it’s one thing to build another coal-loader, it’s another to attract another Slingshot or to build a tech business park that will inspire kids at school to choose a career path here,’’ he said.
Mr Brooks has better insight than most to the concerns of graduates.
Raised in Kurri Kurri, he worked as a fitter and turner before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Sydney and returning to his home town, where he struggled to land a job.
Eventually finding work through the Business Enterprise Centre, he taught himself to build websites before starting his firm HyperWeb Communications.
Hunter Young Professionals vice-president David Clark, a logistics superintendent at OneSteel Tube Mills in Mayfield, said graduates were finding it harder than ever to find jobs, with business confidence low following the peak of the resources boom.
‘‘I’ve known people are doing unpaid work to get their foot in the door, many sectors are cutting costs to free up cash for future investment – there’s just no fat in business,’’ he said.
DiG festival co-founder Craig Wilson said councils could follow the lead of some of their counterparts in North America who had allowed local entrepreneurs to use their facilities as ‘‘urban laboratories’’ to test new clean tech, sustainability and mobility technologies.
‘‘Councils have a lot of data and infrastructure that they could put in the hands of innovative thinkers to create better solutions,’’ he said.
‘‘They can be trial concepts but whole industries can spin from them.’’
Jenny Roberts, an economist at project management firm ADW Johnson, said anecdotal evidence of the brain drain was supported by 2011 census figures showing that Newcastle performed above the state and national average in retaining 20- to 24-year-olds but dropped right back in the 25-34 age bracket.
Ms Roberts says ways to keep younger working professionals in town included changing the HECS system to offer discounts to those who study and remain in Newcastle and updating planning regulations to speed up large developments.
‘‘If government policy is to grow centres like Newcastle it’s not just about planning structure, it’s about putting their money where their mouth is on where their own people work,’’ she said.
Mrs Roberts said she sent 20 emails to ‘‘big corporate clients’’ after the NSW budget, telling them of the millions earmarked for the Hunter.
‘‘It’s that kind of selling the good news from business to business that helps.’’
Arrested: Kodi James Maybir at Fairfield police station on Friday afternoon, just before he was taken into custody. Photo: James Brickwood The Address in Oatley where a young boy died after a fall from a Pogo stick in May. Photo: James Alcock
A man has been charged with 25 child abuse offences following the death of a seven-year-old boy who died after he reportedly fell off a pogo stick in May.
Homicide detectives arrested Kodi James Maybir on Friday, after a three month investigation in to the boy’s suspicious death.
The boy was known to the Department of Family and Community Services and died from unexplained head injuries.
His mother told police she found her son dead in the bedroom of an Oatley unit about 6.30am on Tuesday, May 21. In a statement to police at the time, she allegedly said “the boy fell off a pogo stick and hit his head while playing inside the unit and lost consciousness” the day before.
Mr Maybir, 29, was charged with offences relating to the alleged abuse of the boy.
He was arrested at Fairfield police station and is expected to appear before Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday.
He faces 25 charges, including seven counts of common assault, seven of child abuse and one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Strike Force Miretta detectives will allege Mr Maybir repeatedly abused the boy, struck him with implements, withheld food and water and made him sit outside in his underwear as punishment.
Police will allege Mr Maybir made several films that show the boy being punched and kicked. Detectives seized a laptop containing several films.
A court will hear Mr Maybir allegedly encouraged the boy’s younger siblings to repeatedly assault him on video.
Some of the abuse allegedly occurred in a music recording studio in the Oately unit.
Mr Maybir works for a music recording company and was often referred to by his stage name which was “Kopri”.
Police have yet to lay any murder charges in relation to the boy’s death.
Former Hurstville police Chief Superintendent Brad Shepherd said at the time ambulance officers found the boy dead in a bedroom at Oatley.
Paramedics were called to the unit just before 6.30am after reports a boy was unconscious and not breathing. Ambulance officers pronounced the boy dead at the scene.
Mr Maybir and the boy’s mother were both questioned by Hurstville police at the time.
It is believed the mother is separated from the boy’s father and she had been living in a caravan park.
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Full, live commentary as the Sea Eagles take on the Sharks in the NRL finals series.
Hello world, welcome to tonight’s elimination final between the Sea Eagles and Sharks. The Sharks are facing their second win-or-go-home match in as many weeks, while Manly have been thrust into this position after losing to the Roosters last weekend. What do we have in store tonight? Another seventh-tackle try? Another 4-0 scoreline? Who knows. One thing I can guarantee is action. And plenty of it.
In team news, both sides will be without key attacking players. Brett Stewart has failed to beat the leg injury that kept him out of the Roosters match, while Todd Carney’s hamstring hasn’t healed. Both players will be missed, but you can’t help but think Cronulla will miss Carney more. He is their main man in attack, providing a point of difference in an otherwise workman like side. Chad Townsend – Carney’s replacement – looks to have a bright future, but he is no Todd Carney at this point in time.
Former Panthers great Mark Geyer seems to have done things the right way.
Pizza, cold beer in the fridge, and a house full of footy fans ready for the battle of the beaches. Bring it on #nrlmancro— Mark Geyer (@markMGgeyer) September 20, 2013
Here they come. The Sharks are coming out first, with their fans in good voice. After Manly took the chance to complain about not be able to play the match at Brookvale, the Sharks seem keen on making tonight seem like their home game. Manly are now coming onto the field.
3rd minute: A good opening set from Cronulla. The opening minutes will set the tone. Both sides are likely to adopt a power game, with the battle in the middle of the field crucial. A Ben Pomeroy fumble have given Manly the first attacking chance.
Manly have kicked off. Cronulla have the ball.
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Those wanting to watch a fast, free-flowing game might have a better chance of finding it on the Iron Chef because this match will be a grim struggle. The Swans of 2013 are no ugly ducklings but any team coached by Ross Lyon will always prefer to engage in hand-to-hand combat rather than a shootout. The Swans have an unshakeable belief in their contested style of football but so, too, do the Dockers so don’t expect either coach to be changing their plan so deep into the season. There will be plenty of ball-ups and tackles, and goals will be at a premium.
2. Why has Sydney coach John Longmire opted for speed?
The Swans know Josh Kennedy, Ryan O’Keefe, Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh can match the Dockers for hardness but it’s the blistering pace of Lewis Jetta, Gary Rohan and Harry Cunningham which provides Longmire with a point of difference. The Dockers are brilliant at closing down space on the opposition but you can’t tackle what you can’t catch. The Swans will look to take every opportunity to feed the ball out to the trio in a bid to exploit the Dockers for pace. One of the three is likely to start in the red vest.
3. What impact will Kurt Tippett’s absence have on the Swans?
The Swans will miss Tippett’s scoring power but the flipside is they are less predictable with him injured. There is likely to be extra pressure on Jesse White to provide a target but he will get assistance from Mike Pyke and Shane Mumford when they are resting from the ruck. The Swans are at their best when midfielders such as McVeigh, Jack, Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Ben McGlynn and Luke Parker run hard into attack to kick goals. It will test their endurance but it could be a case of no pain, no gain for the Swans.
4. How do Sydney quell Aaron Sandilands’ influence?
At 211cm and 120kg, Sandilands is too tall to reach over and too big to push out of the way but Pyke and Mumford have the athleticism to test him in general play. Mumford’s strength is his ability to follow up his ruck work by throwing his weight around at ground level while Pyke has become an exceptionally strong mark. The Swans’ defence will need to be organised when Sandilands, who is likely to dominate the hitouts, pushes forward in order to avoid one-on-one marking contests.
5. Why can the Swans win?
They have the big-game experience, the hardened bodies to match the Dockers’ combative style and the big ground suits their speed and run. The Swans also relish the challenge of winning in Perth and seem to grow another leg when their credentials are questioned. The Dockers have never made a grand final in their 18-year existence so the weight of history could also hold them down. But there’s a huge factor in the Dockers’ favour – the week off. The Swans’ hard year could tell in the second half.
Prediction: Fremantle by 9 points.
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