Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New England Stories - the Hunter Valley Drayton's recovery from tragedy

Photo: The explosion at Drayton's. Inset Trevor Drayton, one of the two who died.

At 8.15 am on the morning of 17 January 2008, a huge explosion ripped through the cellar building at Drayton's family wines in the Hunter Valley. Click on photo for a link to the story.

Growing up, Hunter Valley wines were the wines I learned to drink, New England's best. After 150 years, the Draytons were one of the best known wine families.

Earlier this week the ABC TV program Australian Story carried an episode on the fire and its aftermath. The main link is here, the transcript here.

The episode is partly a love story, of the relations between the assistant wine maker at Drayton's, William Rikard-Bell who sustained burns to 80 per cent of his body, and his partner, Kimbereley Booker.

It is the story of the Drayton's fellow wine makers who, while competitors, gathered together to ensure that the Drayton's 2008 vintage could be harvested and turned into wine. And it is the story of the Draytons themselves.

The story reduced me to tears. I thought that it was one of the most moving pieces of TV that I have seen.

Monday, October 27, 2008

NSW budget woes

NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal announced last week that the NSW Treasury had released audited budget results for 2007-2008. The results shows a dramatic weakening in the State's budget position, with the surplus shrinking to $73 million from a projected $700 million in May.

Treasurer Roozendall stated that the primary reasons for the shortfall were:

  • a $160 million shortfall in transfer duty revenue mainly occurring during May and June
  • a $222 million shortfall in investment income from the NSW Self Insurance Corporation mainly due to significant falls in share values
  • $320 million cost overruns in Health
  • an additional $150 million grant to RailCorp.

The very large overruns in Health costs would appear to explain the recurrent stories about health institutions unable to pay for immediate needs whether bandages or stamps.

Weak property prices, together with fewer property transactions, mean that the shortfall in transfer duty revenues has continued - $90 million below forecast in July, $103 million in August, $77 million in September.

According to Imre Salusinszky in The Australian, these lower revenues mean that the budget two months into the financial year is in deficit to the tune of $163 million, making the projected $268 million surplus for 2008-09 out of reach in the absence of cuts to recurrent spending -- which is likely to mean agency amalgamations and public service job cuts.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Puzzles about Sydney residential land shortages

I am still working my way through the latest NSW population projections, hence the delay in posting. However, I did want to record one thing that puzzles me.

Most of the discussions about the need to find more residential land in Sydney focus on the outer suburbs targeted as growth areas. Leaving aside the macro question of the likely aggregate demand, and this is likely to be less than projected because of foreshadowed migration cut-backs, the issue in my mind is whether people will actually want to live there.

I haven't thought this through, but my gut judgement is that a significant proportion of the projected population increase is likely to want to live in other areas. If this is true, then all the projected investment in residential development and supporting infrastructure may yield low returns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New NSW Population Projections 2006-2036 - New England's projected position

In my first post examining the new projections, New NSW Population Projections 2006-2036 - what do they mean?, I looked at the overall break-up of the numbers between the Sydney region and the rest of the state, then focused on the Sydney numbers because they are so important to the overall projections.

This post looks at the projections from a New England perspective. As with the analysis in the first post, a number of qualifications apply:

  1. Sydney is the Sydney statistical division, a much larger area including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast than the traditional definition of Greater Sydney.
  2. There are some uncertainties in the historical figures because of continuing changes to boundary definitions.
  3. So far as New England is concerned, there will be some slight understatement in the figures because some of New England is included in the vast by area North West regional division used for planning purposes.
  4. The figures are projections, not predictions, although some of the media reporting has in fact tended to treat them as though they are predictions.
  5. Rounding means that some of the cross-totals do not exactly match.

The Overall Position

The following table summarises the New England position within the projections. Again, all figures are in '000.

  1976 1986 1996 2006 2016 2026 2036 Change 2006-36


5,532 6,205 6,816 7,560 8,232 9,066 2,250


3,472 3,881 4,282 4,822 5,395 5,982 1,700
New England                
- Newcastle 381 417 463 518 573 627 676 158
- Rest of Hunter 60 77 91 100 110 120 128 28
-Richmond-Tweed 109 152 201 230 260 289 316 85
- Mid-North Coast 144 207 262 297 331 362 387 90
Northern 175 182 179 180 179 175 168 -12
Total New England 869 1,035 1,196 1,325 1,453 1,573 1,675 350
New England % NSW 17.5 18.7 19.3 19.4 19.2 19.1 18.5 15.7


To set these figures in perspective, at the turn of the twentieth century, around one person in four in NSW lived in New England. Within New England, while Newcastle was by far the largest centre, there was a rough balance between the inland and coastal populations outside Newcastle. 

The twentieth century saw a long term decline in New England's demographic position. This was most marked on the Tablelands. Then over the last quarter of the century, the seachange phenomenon saw rapid growth along the coastal strip that partially redressed the aggregate demographic decline. Within this, the inland areas as a whole continued their relative decline at an accelerating rate.

The projections suggest that these trends will continue. The large inland Northern region is projected to slip from the second largest population to the second smallest, the smallest if the Hunter Valley is taken as a whole. In 1976, New England's strip including Newcastle already held 72.3 per cent of New England's population. This is projected to reach 82.3 per cent in 2036.

Within these broad patterns, each New England region has its own special demographic features. I will look at these in my next post.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New NSW Population Projections 2006-2036 - what do they mean?

The NSW Department of Planning has released new population projections for NSW. While I have still to complete my analysis of the latest ABS population data for NSW, I thought I should pause and look at the latest projections.

Sydney vs the Rest

The table below shows projections for the Sydney region and the rest of the state. Note:

  1. All numbers are projections, not forecasts, based on assumptions linked to past patterns.
  2. The Sydney region is a significantly larger area than greater Sydney as traditionally defined.
  3. The historical data, and this applies generally, contains some approximations because of boundary shifts, something that I have complained about before.
  4. All numbers are in 'ooo.
NSW1976198619962006201620262036Change 2006 -36
Rest of NSW1,8162,0602,3242,5342,7382,9283,084550
Sydney %63.3968.5462.5362.8363.7864.8265.9875.6

Assuming that I am not misinterpreting numbers because of, for example, errors introduced by boundary changes, a number of interesting features emerge:

  1. You can see how Sydney gained compared to the rest of the state during the boom of the 1980s, only to fall away in the subsequent downturn. On these numbers, Sydney will still be below its 1986 share of the state population in 2036.
  2. You can see why I was so cautious about the previous projections as well, because Sydney's aggregate growth was quite slow over the recent period.
  3. Sydney is now projected to pick up growth, with the population in the rest of the state actually falling between 2006 and 2016, before increasing again.
  4. Nearly all the state's population growth - 76 per cent - is projected to take place in Sydney. This makes the validity of the Sydney estimates critical.

Projected Sources of Sydney's Growth

If Sydney's growth is critical to the overall projections, where are the people to come from?

The table below sets out the projected sources of Sydney's growth in terms of annual averages. Again, all the figures are '000

Start period population4,2824,5504,8225,1045,3955,689
Natural increase 353739414141
- births616467707375
- deaths262728293134
Net Migration181818181818
-net internal-28-26-26-26-26-26
-net overseas464343434343
Total increase545456585959
End period population4,5504,8225,1045,3955,6895,982

The first thing to note about this table is the way in which figures such as net migration are constant, or vary by very little. The authors recognise that annual numbers will vary - these are average estimates.

The second thing to note is that the projections imply continuing major demographic change in Sydney. Over the period of the projections, something like 360,000 predominantly locally born will leave, to be replaced by over 860,000 immigrants. This represents a 1.22 million shift in the composition Sydney's population, roughly 21 per cent of the total projected 2036 population.

Will the figures be realised? The short answer is that I do not know. The migration statistics are the critical variable, because Sydney's growth depends, as it has for many years, on the balance between overseas migration and internal emigration.

My best guess, and it is only a guess, is that for the next few years at least the gain from net migration will be lower than the projections.

Our present immigration levels are at a historic high. It would seem logical to expect the numbers to be cut back given rapidly worsening economic conditions. It would also seem logical to expect emigration to continue simply because, on current projections, economic conditions are likely to be better elsewhere in Australia.

To put some numbers to this, if the net overseas migrant gain drops to an average of 30,000, over the next five years, net internal migration increases to 32,000 per annum, then the net migration effect goes from +18,000 to - -2,000.Were this to happen, the annual population increase would drop from 54,000 to 33,000.

Could Sydney's population actually decline? This seems unlikely, although on the numbers one could mount a theoretical case.

Assume a long lasting downturn, leading to a fall in the birthrate so that the natural increase drops from the projected 35,000 in 2006-2011 to 25,000. Assume significant cut-backs in immigration so that the net gain from overseas migration gain drops to 10,000, while internal emigration increases to 40,000. In this event, Sydney's population would drop by 5,000 per annum.

As I said, this seems unlikely. However, it does illustrate the need to treat the projections with considerable caution, recognising that they are just that, projections.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New England Australia Films - Sons of Matthew: introduction

This photo from the State Library of Queensland is a location shot for the filming of Sons of Matthew. From left to right: L. R. Rolston, Elsa Chauvel, Charles Chauvel, A. Rolston and J. Rolston.

Sons of Matthew was set in south eastern Queensland just across the border from New England. However, the film begins in New England and combines many different elements of New England history.

Just as a break from current events and more serious stuff, I am still depressed from Depression about indigenous policy - and a challenge to North Coast Voices , I thought that it might be interesting to use the film as an example to explore different elements of New England.


You will find the entry page for films about or produced in New England here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Depression about indigenous policy - and a challenge to North Coast Voices

This photo is of an Aboriginal ball at Moree in 1937.

As I write, the media is full of the report (copy here) on the Howard Government's intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. I found the discussion depressing in the extreme.

I wrote my first post, Australia's Aborigines - an introductory post, in December 2006. There I said in part:

I have so far hesitated to write anything on issues connected with Australia's aborigines because this area has become a bit of a mine field, especially for some one like me who does not have much direct contact with aboriginal people.

As I explained in that post, I had been drawn back to the topic (I did my honours thesis on the Aborigines back in 1966) because of my work on the history of New England. Since then I have written the best part of 100 posts on indigenous issues and history, a fair bit dealing with New England. I now feel like giving up.

In writing, I have tried to articulate key principles that should be followed in the development of official policy towards Australia's indigenous peoples. These principles have been been developed against a background of, and are intended to address, a record of constant policy failure.

The two principles can be summarised as follows.

First, Australia's indigenous peoples are not a single, homogeneous, unit. Any policy that treats them that way will fail, especially if it is driven by needs or problems in a particular area or a particular group.

Second, to be effective, indigenous policy must address those things that are unique to indigenous communities or which deal with the relations between the indigenous and broader communities. Where a problem is a subset of a broader one, like absence of regional jobs or local doctors, attempts to treat it through indigenous policies will fail.

These two key principles are supported by three further principles:

First, indigenous Australia must be made part of the broader Australia. This is a difficult one to explain. In simple terms, so long as our indigenous people are seen as a separated minority group, others in the broader community will see them as just that. The indigenous heritage must become part of the heritage of all Australians.

Second, to achieve this, indigenous history must be localised and should tell the full history of specific local language groups. People, indigenous and otherwise, find it easiest to understand their area and history.

Thirdly, we need to focus on the successes of our indigenous peoples, not the failures and problems. Of course we have to address problems, but that is all we seem to do at present.

Celebrations of success cannot be done through the ghettoisation of indigenous Australia. This is what happens at present whether it be the Deadlies or Message Stick. Indigenous reporting and celebration has been consigned to the special interest programs, programs that very few Australians watch.

I said that I felt like giving up writing on indigenous issues. Simply, I see little point.

When I look at what has happened in the broader New England over the last two years, and despite some successes at local level that I have tried to identify and write about, I cannot see a single overall gain in terms of the advancement of New England's large indigenous population. Nor can I see anything that might change this in the next two years.

I stand to be corrected, I would love to be corrected, but this is the position as I see it now. Worse, I cannot see a single reason why this should change.

To finish with a challenge to one of my fellow blogs.

North Coast Voices is New England's most active political blogs. Its first post was, I think, in October 2007. Since then there have been 983 posts. Yes, it is active!

If you look at those 983 posts, just 27 deal with indigenous issues. Of these, only two have any local flavour.

Now the North Coast was the highest Aboriginal population area in NSW at the time Europeans arrived and, reflecting this, is a major Aboriginal centre now. When is North Coast Voices going to join in my attempts to advance New England indigenous development?


My challenge in this post drew the following response in a comment from North Coast Voices. I have included it in the main post as a matter of factual record since it corrects things that I said.

clarencegirl said...


The stats you have quoted for North Coast Voices are in error.

Not only is the total number of posts at this site currently standing at 1,286, the total number which speak to indigenous issues and indigenous life on the NSW North Coast is also higher than the 27 and 2 respectively quoted in the your post of 15 October.

This is because the tag "indigenous affairs" mainly speaks to policy matters and, there are more local entries relating to indigenous life under tags such as "local government", "media", "arts" for example.Indeed, many posts featuring the North Coast would not always specifically identify the indigenous element in them, because for us the local community is one.

North Coast Voices is always conscious that the various groups within the Bunjalung nation have their own voice and that they speak out strongly on issues that concern them and, we are careful not to speak to local issues where we have no permission from these groups or the elders.

We do not apologise for this, nor do we intend to rise to a spurious "challenge".

No further comment will be entered into concerning your post.

I stand corrected on the factual record and apologise for misunderstanding the stats - I based these on a quick site search. I remain depressed, however, on the general issues I raised. I don't want to do a forensic analysis of the NCV reply, I understand CG's position, but I do think that as a general comment the exchange of itself illustrates just how difficult it is to discuss these issues.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NSW/New England By-elections 18 October - Information sources

This Saturday (18 October), by-elections are being held for the NSW Legislative Assembly in the Sydney seats of Cabramatta, Lakemba and Ryde, as well as the New England seat of Port Macquarie. The ACT will also be holding elections.

If you want to follow the results of counting the best source is the ABC web site here. This takes you to the Port Macquarie section, but you can find the other seats from here as well as the ACT results.

The by-elections are a key test for the current Sydney Government. The Port Macquarie seat is also interesting. Will the split independent vote maintain the seat as independent, or will it return to the hands of the Nationalist Party?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tamworth pulls out of New England North West Regional Tourism Organisation

I see from the Northern Daily Leader that Tamworth has pulled out of the New England-North West Regional Tourism organisation. Seriously, I can understand Tamworth's position. Tourism branding in NSW is an absolute mess.

Some localities in New England have been able to establish themselves as a brand, some have not. Tamworth, Byron Bay and Coff Harbour have been succesful, Newcastle and Armidale have failed.

Some regions have been able to establish themselves as a brand, some have not. The Hunter Valley has, the Clarence River and the New England Tablelands have failed.

Tamworth's membership of the New-England North West Regional Tourism organisation cost $55,000 per annum with almost no pay back. This is not a criticism of that organisation, I run more Big Sky stories than other areas because they promote hard. In fact, just as I write, a new release from them has come through. Thank you Ingrid.

The problem is that tourism branding in New England has little to do with market realities, much to do with institutional structures.

Tourism promotion takes a lot of time and at least some money. It requires a clear understanding of just what areas can offer, understanding of potential markets, a coherent message sustained over a long period.

I have been involved in one way or another with the promotion of New England for more years than I care to remember. As part of this, I have had some direct involvement in the promotion of New England tourism for more than a decade.

Bluntly, New England tourism has gone back over the last sixty years despite specific local successes such as Tamworth country music, Coffs Coast or the Hunter. At the moment, I have little expectation that this will change.

New England has some of Australia's greatest attractions, it has a history that offers interest and rewards, it has special life-style features. Yet, somehow, it fails to grab.

My fear is that this will continue.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Calling residents of UNE's S H Smith House, Drummond College, Drummond & Smith College

Photo: Drummond & Smith College Students, University of New England 2007

Browsing round, I found the Facebook page for Drummond & Smith College.

Drummond & Smith College is the amalgam of two very different institutions.

S H Smith House was the women's residence for the Armidale Teachers College. The College became the Armidale College of Advanced Education and was then merged with UNE. Follwoing this, Smith House became co-educational.

Drummond College was a UNE college, the merged with S H Smith House. There is a logical connection between the two. D H Drummond was Minister for Education in NSW, S H Smith the head of his Department when he first became Minister.

Anybody care to share stories of their time at the two places. Or, for that matter, their experience in taking out Smith House girls? I have some very fond memories here!

Friday, October 10, 2008

North Coast Voices turns one

The political blog North Coast Voices has just turned one. My congratulations.

I often disagree at a personal level with NCV. But they are one of the few blogs that argues (sometimes in the midst of broader political comments) a regional line. We need more like them.

So long as NCV survives, I will promote the blog regardless of my disagreements with individual lines.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Newcastle harbour c1900

This is a scan of a postcard from an album containing photograph and postcards of Newcastle, NSW. 1900-1945. The album is from the records of the Newcastle and Hunter District Historical Society which are held in the Archives of the University of Newcastle.

I have been looking around trying to find photos of Newcastle in the first years of the twentieth century.

This is the period before the first steel works, construction of which began in 1913.

From my viewpoint, I am fascinated by the differences across New England, as well as the similarities and linkages. Newcastle and the lower Hunter were always different from other parts of the North because of the area's industrial base. The sometimes troubled relationship between Newcastle and other parts of New England is one element in New England's history.

For a summary history of the Newcastle steel plant see here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Helping the Kamilaroi (and others) find their family history

There was a rather inspirational story in the Sydney Morning Herald of the work done by Noelene Briggs-Smith in helping Kamilaroi people in particular find out details of their family history.

By way of background for readers outside New England, the Kamilaroi were the Aboriginal language group occupying New England's Western Slopes and Plains. Those who are interested can find a map showing Kamilaroi territory here.

Noelene works for the Dhiiyaan Indigenous Centre in the Northern Regional Library in Moree. I have referred to this library before as a source of information on the Kamilaroi. I could wish that there were more like it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

UNE's Overseas Student's Association

In Overseas Week, University of New England, 1960 I provided an Australian Archives photo of UNE from 1960. Now here is another.

I quote from the description:

Two agricultural experts from Indonesia are studying at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia, for degrees in Agricultural Economics. They are H H Rosidi, of Djakarta, who worked in the rubber office of the small holders department, and Soepadi Seman, of Malang, who worked in the horticultural office in Djakarat. Both have Colombo Plan scholarships. Mr Rosidi uses a computing machine as part of this study of statistics - photographer, J Fitzpatrick. 1 photographic negative: b&w, acetate Date : 1960

When I was at UNE, the Overseas Students Association was the largest student association on campus. I wonder how many of our overseas students remember this period?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Australia's latest population statistics 2 - the macro numbers

As foreshadowed in Australia's latest population statistics - introduction, this post begins a review of the latest population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released in September 2008, focusing in this post on the macro numbers.

While I will be discussing the macro numbers, I am particularly concerned with the implications of the numbers for previous analysis I have done in a NSW and New England context.

Data Qualifications

As with all statistics, care needs to be exercised in interpreting the results. Some of the numbers are preliminary and will change. Further, and as I discussed in Sydney, statistics and the need for caution, the definitions used in defining statistical areas can also affect results. In particular, the Sydney Statistical Division is far broader than Greater Sydney as normally defined.

Overall Pattern

The Table below sets out estimated figures by state and territory for the year ended 30 March 2008.

State Population
Change over previous year
Change over previous year
NSW 6,947.0 72.4 1.1
Victoria 5,274.4 87.6 1.7
Queensland 4,253.2 91.9 2.2
WA 2,149.1 54.2 2.6
SA 1,598.0 16.9 1.1
Tasmania 497.3 4.5 0.9
ACT 342.7 4.6 1.4
NT 218.4 4.6 2.2
Total 21,282.6 336.8 1.6


The numbers show that Queensland and Victoria are continuing  to catch up on NSW in population terms. While WA's growth rate is the highest in the country, its lower population base means that (in absolute terms) it is still losing ground to the three big eastern states.

The growth in the NSW population, while still the second lowest in Australia in percentage terms, is in absolute terms well up on the 59,630 growth recorded in the 2005-2006 financial year, the base I was using in my previous analysis.

Importance0 of Migration

As evidenced by the ABS graph below, Australia's higher population growth in the year ended 20 March 2008 was driven very heavily by a sharp increase in migration.

If you look at the gray line for natural increase, this has fluctuated around a straight line trend. Consequently, the rises and falls  in absolute population numbers are driven almost exclusively by net overseas migration. 

I am not sure that the next graph will come out properly upon publication. It shows the contribution of overseas migration, internal migration and natural growth for each state and territory.

contribution to growth

NSW gains population from migration and natural growth, but continues to lose people through internal migration at a greater rate than any other state. Consequently, NSW's population growth is almost completely dependent on the size of Australia's migration program. The increase in the rate of NSW population growth above that I used in my earlier analysis is solely due to increases in overseas migration.

This has been a feature of NSW for a very long period, from at least the late eighties.

More broadly, the existence of varying patterns of internal and overseas migration within Australia is actually changing the ethnic mix of the country in a geographically based way that we have not seen before.

As I will discuss in a later post, this is especially pronounced in Sydney because the city acts as a magnet for overseas migrants while combing heavy out migration to other parts of Australia.      

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Overseas Week, University of New England, 1960

This photo by J Fitzpatrick from Australian Archives shows Randolph Aubur, from what was then Malaya, helping Australian student, Laurence Keaton tie up an 'Overseas Week' notice in the grounds at the University of New England in 1960.

Randolph is wearing one of the green student gowns that were then compulsory at UNE.

It is often forgotten, and this inlcudes current UNE people, that UNE was at the cutting edge of the emerging Australian involvement with Asia.

Randolph was enrolled in the recently established Faculty of Agricultural Economics, then the only such faculty at an Australian university.

I tried a google search on both students, but could not find them. I wonder if anyone remembers?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Australia's latest population statistics - introduction

Back in August 2007 in Sydney's Sluggish Population Growth , I queried the basis of the Sydney Government's planningassumptions. I said in part that the plans projected a annual population growth along the NSW coastal strip over the next twenty five years of 68,000, of whom 48,000 would be in Sydney. Based on current demographics, I simply could not see where the people were to come from.

With the Sydney economy at a standstill, the local dailies have been running a steady series of articles attacking the State Government's performance. With new population data out, these include attacks (here for example) on the failure of the Government to properly plan for Sydney's population growth.

There is an obvious tension between my earlier conclusions and the latest newspaper attacks. For that reason, I thought that it might be interesting to look at the latest population data. Was I wrong in my earlier analysis? Have there been changes that invalidate my conclusions?

In later posts, I will provide an overview of the latest population statistics, then look at the implications for my earlier analysis.

Posts in this series

Thursday, October 02, 2008

L J Hill's great Namoi Mud album

My thanks to Radio National for introducing me to L J Hill's Namoi Mud. RN has run two tracks so far, and I think that it is great!

I know this country, while Hill's lyrics deal with human experiences.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

$6m funding boost for medical education in Taree

The University of Newcastle has welcomed the Australian Government's commitment of more than $6 million dollars for a new multi-purpose education centre in Taree for medical and allied health students to complete clinical training.

The Taree Medical Education Centre, to be located on the grounds of Manning Base Hospital, will be home to the University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) and the Rural Clinical School (RCS).

The funding was announced by the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Nicola Roxon MP, during a visit to Taree today.

Professor Mike Calford, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University's Faculty of Health, said the new Centre was a significant win for the Taree region.

"The Centre will provide students with access to first class facilities in a non-metropolitan setting when they undertake their clinical placements," Professor Calford said.

"Students from medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics, radiography, pharmacy and occupational therapy will use the facility.

"The University, and its partners, warmly welcomes the commitment of funding by the Australian Government. Efforts are also underway to attract additional funding to support the Government's contribution."

The Taree Medical Education Centre will feature clinical laboratories, tutorial rooms, office for senior staff and video conferencing facilities. When complete, it will be home to up to 20 academic and support staff.

The Centre will be modelled on the Tamworth Medical Education Centre and is expected to be completed by late 2010.

Acting Director of the UDRH/RCS, Associate Professor Steve Doherty, said there was a strong commitment to training students in regional, rural and remote locations.

"There is a chronic shortage of health care workers outside major metropolitan areas. It is important that we expose undergraduate students to career and lifestyle opportunities outside the big cities," Associate Professor Doherty said.

"We are pleased to have considerable support from the local community which will ensure that this purpose-built education and training facility fulfils our needs and contributes significantly to local infrastructure."

The UDRS and RSC are a partnership between the University of Newcastle, the University of New England, Hunter New England Health and Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.