New South Wales

Upgraded Redfern parks help Sydney community connect to Country

REDFERN’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage will be at the heart of plans to upgrade three parks in one of Sydney’s most important growing communities.

More than 4,500 square metres (sqm) of parks will be upgraded at Redfern Community Centre open space, Yellomundee Park and Hugo Street Reserve.

Informed by extensive community consultation, the project scope will see greener, cooler parks with native trees and plants making for safer and more welcoming spaces, according to the council.

“As our city grows and more areas are developed, creating inviting places where the local community can come together and socialise is even more important,” Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore said. 

“The area is experiencing major changes with increased development around Redfern station and more to come as the metro station at Waterloo gets closer to becoming operational.

“The Block is so important for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is an area where the local community has shaped its neighbourhood. This is why we’ve really listened to what they want for the future of the area and in particular these local parks.

“The residents who live near these parks share a strong sense of community and they’ve told us they want them to be friendly and inviting places where children can play safely. Our upgrades will improve spaces for sport and recreation while creating new playgrounds for families to come together and enjoy.”

The proposal for the Redfern Community Centre open space includes: a larger playground catering to several ages; greater lawn area suitable for events, pop-up attractions and free play; a new shaded barbecue and seating area; an activated Redfern terrace that has the capacity to tell local stories through a ‘living museum’, as outlined in the Eora Journey: Recognition in the public domain vision; low wall seating around the park and more bins, bubblers and lighting.

The proposal for Yellomundee Park includes: a new gathering space in the centre of the park; improved lawn areas and potential community garden plots; a new path through the park; and more accessible seating, bins and bubblers with improved lighting. 

The proposal for Hugo Street Reserve includes: an upgraded basketball court with improved noise minimising treatments such as sound absorbing surfaces and backboards; an improved off-leash dog area to the south; upgraded lawn and garden area to the north; and new seating, bins and bubblers with improved lighting.

These upgrades will increase native greening in the area and provide opportunities for residents to connect to Country, according to Lord Mayor Moore.

Once the project scope is endorsed by the council, a multi-disciplinary design team, including an Aboriginal cultural specialist, will help design the project with the local community. The City of Sydney will also look to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and operated businesses, as well as workers, to be employed on the projects through design and construction.

A tender process will appoint a head contractor ahead of detailed design.


Unit construction in NSW collapses under tax burden for foreign investors

THE HOUSING Industry Association of Australia (HIA) has warned that residential unit construction has fallen by half in New South Wales since 2017, when new ‘foreign investor surcharge’ taxes were introduced by the State Government.

“Since the introduction of additional taxes in 2017, the number of units commencing construction in NSW has fallen by 50 percent,” HIA chief economist, Tim Reardon said.

“The number of apartments starting construction in NSW has fallen back to levels last seen in 2012, when the population of NSW was 1 million people fewer and migration was just one third the volume of 2023,” Mr Reardon said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) corroborated this in the release of its building activity data for the December Quarter 2023. This data provides estimates of the value of building work and number of dwellings commenced, completed and under construction across Australia and its states and territories. 
“The more governments tax homes, the fewer homes will be built and the faster rents will increase,” Mr Reardon said.
“The Australian Government has stated a goal of building 1.2 million new homes. This ambitious target requires all states and territories to work toward this common goal.
“Making homes more expensive is not an effective policy response to achieve a slowing in migration to NSW.
“It will however lead to a more inequitable housing market with renters bearing the highest burden.
“There were only 23,653 multi-units that commenced construction in New South Wales in 2023, following just 21,652 in 2022. These were the two weakest years of apartment commencements since 2012,” Mr Reardon said
“The last two years of multi-units activity in NSW are less than half the 47,757 multi-units the state commenced in 2016.
“NSW introduced additional stamp duty and land tax surcharges on foreign investors from 2017. These taxes are in addition to those taxes, fees and charges imposed on foreign investors by the Australian Government.
“The result was an exodus of foreign investors and a dramatic decline in higher density home building. A similar outcome can be observed across the country, especially in the capital cities, where similar taxes have been imposed.
“Foreign investors are a crucial component to building new housing in Australia, especially the higher density living that is particularly important in periods of rapid migration.

“Foreign investors don’t live in these homes, and they cannot take them overseas and they are penalised if these homes are left vacant.
“The rapid population growth in NSW will not be slowed by increasing the taxes on home building,” he said
“Australian based institutional investors, who received a tax concession in the 2023 Federal Budget to invest in residential housing, are not filling the gap left by the withdrawal of overseas investors.
“At a time of record population growth and acute shortages of housing, NSW needs more of all types of homes with the support of investment from first home buyers, owner occupiers, government housing, domestic and foreign investors,” Mr Reardon said.

Check the HIA Stamp Duty Watch Report for more details.


Forum for Accelerating Research and Innovation in NSW draws enthusiastic support

WESTERN SYDNEY University today hosted, in partnership with NSW State Member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton, the industry forum, Accelerating Research and Innovation in NSW, at its Parramatta City campus.

The forum is part of a collaborative campaign to drive innovation and research commercialisation in New South Wales.

With rates of disruption and change accelerated by the shift to digital and the post-pandemic economy, the NSW Premier launched in January 2021, the NSW Action Plan for Accelerating Research and Development (R&D).

The plan was guided by an Advisory Council, chaired by David Gonski AC, with membership drawn from the business, investment, startup and tertiary education sectors.  

The Plan’s five Priority Actions are to: Launch a Small Business Innovation Research program; boost ‘open data’ from government so businesses can make better decisions; turbocharge precincts to attract technology industries and investment; target strategic support for NSW universities; and establish an R&D matchmaking platform. 

Western Sydney University’s vice-chancellor and president, Barney Glover, joined a panel of experts chaired by NUW Alliance chief operating officer, Jane Reynaud. The panel also included Sarah Hill (CEO of Western Sydney Parkland Authority), Emma Johnston (dean of science at UNSW) and Rebecca Pham (accelerator manager, Launch Pad at Western Sydney University).

“NSW is emerging strongly from the pandemic, and is in a prime position to invest in translating innovations into practical solutions that address collaboratively identified challenges," Professor Glover said.

“This plan is an excellent platform on which to capitalise on that opportunity.”

Ms Upton, who apart from being the State Member for Vaucluse, is the Parliament Secretary to the Premier, led the development of the Action Plan and shared her vision for turning the plan’s priorities into commercialised products and services that benefit the people of NSW.

“On 1 June 2021 we launched the Action Plan’s first priority – the $24 million Small Business Innovation Research Program calling on SMEs to bring forward innovative ideas to solve discrete government agency problems. This is just the start of the rollout of the Plan’s priorities”, Ms Upton said. 

To find out more, visit the Accelerating R&D in NSW Action Plan website.



Coles Nurture Fund backs Addison Road Community Centre efforts

THE ADDISON ROAD Community Centre in Sydney’s inner west will be one of the first charities in Australia to establish a ‘zero waste, zero emissions’ kitchen for rescued food thanks to a grant from the Coles Nurture Fund. 

Located in Marrickville, the new commercial kitchen will run entirely on solar energy and close the loop on rescued food by making ready-to-eat meals from food donated by SecondBite and Coles. The meals will then be distributed to disadvantaged people in Sydney's inner west.

Addison Road Community Organisation CEO Rosanna Barbero welcomed the $165,000 grant from Coles to fit out the new commercial kitchen and install solar panels for her organisation.  

“With the support of Coles, the Addison Road Community organisation will achieve a zero waste, zero emissions food rescue program," Ms Barbero said. "The winners are the people and the planet. We will show Australia and beyond that it can be done, creating jobs and training opportunities, one community at a time." 

Addison Road is an independent, community-based charity that has been operating since 1976, providing food and services for disadvantaged people in Sydney's inner west and beyond. Through Coles’ partnership with national food rescue organisation SecondBite, Addison Road Community Organisation receives and redistributes unsold food donations from local Coles stores to help feed those in need.

Coles state general manager for New South Wales, Ivan Slunjski said he was delighted to see the Nurture Fund award support great sustainability initiatives for small organisations like Addison Road.

“The Coles Nurture Fund was set up to support new, innovative practices, processes and technologies and we’ve been delighted with the calibre of recent applications,"  Mr Slunjski said. "At a time when providing food to people in need across Australia is so important due to the flow-on effect of COVID-19, we’re delighted to support Addison Road Community Centre.

“At Coles, we want to win together with Australian communities to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia. By helping to fund initiatives which increase local production and enhance the environment, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia.”

Federal Member for Grayndler and Federal Labor Party Leader, Anthony Albanese, welcomed the investment to his local community.

“Thank you to Coles for the great initiative that is ‘The Coles Nurture Fund’.  Addison Road Community Centre is the ideal recipient for this award,” Mr Albanese said.

“Addison Road, under the leadership of CEO Rosanna Barbero, continues to lead the way in ensuring that genuine community needs are met whilst considering the effect on the planet and the future.  I am always inspired by the spirit and energy that drives so many good results for the most disadvantaged in our society.  This is a great project.”

Since it was established in 2015, the Coles Nurture Fund has provided financial support to over 60 Australian businesses to help them introduce innovative technology, improve sustainability, establish new products and drive productivity.



Caption: Celebrating the new Coles initiatives supporting the Addison Road Community Centre's work are (from left) Coles Marrickville store manager Chris Cauchi, Coles Regional Manager NSW Sheraz Rasool, Addison Road Community Centre Organisation CEO Rosanna Barbero, Federal Member for Grayndler NSW and Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese, SecondBite chairman Julian Martin and Coles state manager for NSW Ivan Slunjski.

Adora Handmade Chocolates taste sweet expansion

ADORA Handmade Chocolates has one of the most remarkable backstories of any Australian confectionery maker.

Adora started out as a simple home-made chocolates business in 1993, designed to make some extra money for sisters Tina Angelidis and Katerina Stavropoulos, as they supported their partners in raising their families. Over a quarter century later, the business has developed in both size and brand reputation to be poised for steady expansion. 

“Over time, the business has had to be the main income for both families,” director Tina Angelidis said. “Now the children have grown, the business has taken on another phase. We now can see the potential beyond just an income and would like to explore the possibilities.”

And those possibilities seem ripe for the picking, right now, for Adora Handmade Chocolates.


Over the past few years, consequently, the Adora leadership team has focused on laying the groundwork for expansion – and this has rapidly paid off.

First came the decision to install new equipment and restructure Adora’s manufacturing site, a couple of years ago, supplying a broad range of customers and four Adora Cafes in Sydney’s CBD, Earlwood, Parramatta and Newtown.

“Significant technologies and systems introduced include ordering systems, purchasing, stock management, and making accountability more visible,” Ms Angelidis said.

But perhaps most rewarding was the relocation of Adora’s original Earlwood store.

“After 22 years in Homer Street, last year we relocated our Earlwood store to 118 Wardell Rd Earlwood, corner of Bass St,” Ms Angelidis said. “It was a big step for us, but we were able to relocate our business of 25 years to a new location and, at the same time, increase sales immediately.”

Ms Angelidis said she learned to “never underestimate or overestimate people’s potential”.

Furthermore, incentive rewards have successfully been introduced for staff at all levels.


The company’s financial turnaround over the past year has been solid and confident, as a result of Adora’s innovative but measured approach. That seems even more remarkable in a retail environment that is rife with challenges.

“Currently the chocolate café industry has suffered due to the high rents, high staff costs and increasing costs from food suppliers,” Ms Angelidis said. “We have had to try to renegotiate all areas more regularly.” 

An area that needs special attention, Ms Angelidis and her leadership team agree – because it has such a negative effect on the retail cost of products – is the hurdle of payroll tax, often described by economists as a ‘tax on employment’.

“Payroll tax must be addressed for the hospitality industry,” Ms Angelidis said. “The industry hardly allows you to grow the business, pay staff correctly and still make a profit.”

Another challenge has been the quest to use more sustainable and ethical products, creating some logistical challenges.

“We are also using more and more natural ingredients in all our products,” she said, mentioning its impact on the bottom line.

Indeed, the public has reacted enthusiastically to all Adora product innovations so far. 

For 2019 and beyond, Tina Angelidis’s primary goals are to consolidate the manufacturing with the retail “in order to build the business to a more profitable and sustainable model and replicate thereafter”.

“I want Adora Handmade Chocolates to be a recognised, reputable and sustainable business,” Ms Angelidis said.

With that solid foundation – hand-built by sisters Tina and Katerina from the ground up, over 25 years – Adora Handmade Chocolates continues to innovate and foment ever-more heavenly chocolate experiences.


Adora Handmade Chocolates 

Best-known brands: Adora Café, Adora Signature Truffles made with natural ingredients, Special Order chocolates and Hampers, Handmade High Tea, Chocolate Classes as team building for clients or colleagues 

Adora Handmade Chocolates operates across the manufacturing and hospitality industries, and is led by director Tina Angelidis.

Adora has one manufacturing site and four retail and café outlets across Sydney, with a total of 24 staff.

Awards: Adora’s chocolates have won many awards at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Adora has also been awarded Business of the Year for the Canterbury region.


Ocular Robotics envisions the future

AUSTRALIAN company Ocular Robotics has been recognised as a ‘game changer’ organisation in the global robotics revolution.

Ocular Robotics, a New South Wales Leaders alumni member, was presented with the Next Generation Game Changer Award at the 2015 RoboBusiness Conference in Silicon Valley, California. 

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Hargraves Institute backs Public Sector Innovation awards.

THE ORGANISATION that has been inciting Australian innovation since 2006 – the Hargraves Institute named after aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave – is now focused on helping public sector to transform.

The Hargraves Institute is backing the Australian Public Sector Innovation Awards in an effort to assist in the innovative development of public administration. Allan Ryan.

“The Public Sector Innovation Awards aims to recognise, celebrate and share innovative approaches to public administration,” Hargraves Institute CEO Allan Ryan said.

“The benefits of innovation to the APS (Australian Public Sector) is to engage everybody in problem solutions,” Mr Ryan said. “Engaging everybody gives the maximum opportunity to get the best ideas. (It is to) get many ideas and for the best of many ideas to be implemented.”

He said it was all about recognising innovation and fostering a culture that supports and celebrates people and agencies doing things differently.

“This means that an innovative APS is a high performing APS, because everybody at every level is engaged in the outcomes desired.”

Since it was founded on July 1, 2006, the Hargraves Institute has become a beacon for bringing through innovation in various sectors of Australian business, education and now public administration.

It is as unique as its namesake, who was an inventor – the man who developed box kites and gliders and whose experiment in wing warping are believed to have helped the Wright Brothers make their powered flight breakthrough in 1903 – who believed in sharing his ideas and findings with the scientific world.

Hargrave’s principle of sharing and collaboration to advance knowledge is the corner stone of Hargraves Institute.

There were 12 leading Australian organisations who formed the original Hargraves Institute Advisory Council.

The aims were many, all based on inciting innovation throughout Australian enterrpise and society. The concept of the members was to be part of the collection of the country’s best innovators; and  to “learn how to be more innovative through the collective experience of the group”.

The original 12 were Aristocrat Technologies Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, BlueScope Steel, Boeing Australia, Caltex Australia Petroleum, Cerebos (Australia), Cochlear, George Weston Technologies, Jacobs Australia, Mars Food Australia, Roche Products and Westpac Banking Corporation.

The Hargraves Institute is a NSW Leaders Industry Partner.



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