By Ian Kirkwood
Newcastle Herald, July 30 2018
NEWCASTLE is set to host a “second cities” symposium in October as part of what the organisers describe as a growing global interest in the contribution of cities outside of their capital regions.
The conference is being planned by the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Research Foundation Centre in conjunction with the newly formed Committee for the Hunter.
The committee’s establishment was reported in the Newcastle Herald on Saturday.
Committee chair Richard Anicich said Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong were three obvious examples of “second cities” in Australia.
He said the Committee for Geelong had recently published a report, Winning from Second: What Geelong Can Learn from International Second Cities, that was referred to in a lord mayoral minute at Newcastle City Council last week, in which the council agreed to work with Geelong and Wollongong councils on a national second cities framework.
Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes told last week’s meeting that some other countries were developing second city policies and it would help Australia’s economic performance if we did the same.
“Australia is growing and there will be more second cities in the coming years,” Cr Nelmes said.
A briefing paper on the Newcastle conference, scheduled for October 3 to 5 at the NeW Space building, says “second cities represent a significant proportion of the world’s people, economy and activities”.
“Newcastle offers a compelling example of an emerging second city,” the paper says.
“With the closure of BHP in 1999, it has reshaped itself economically and socially over the past two decades. This latest renaissance will reshape the city again. Newcastle is also a gateway to the Hunter – Australia’s most economically productive region.”
The October conference is planned as the first in an annual series hosting “international thought leadership in this domain”.