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Young people from across the Hunter had a chance to have their say about Newcastle’s future today. Hosted by Urban Growth New South Wales, the Future Leaders Forum aimed to generate ideas and discussion about the city’s renewal. “The response has been fantastic from the youth. They’ve been really energetic, really engaged. There’s been a lot of people putting up some fantastic ideas.” Their feedback will form part of a plan to help guide Newcastle’s revitalisation. (AUDIO IN PARTS

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The Inquiry into the NSW Government’s ‘Fit for the Future’ reform agenda for local government began today in Sydney. The first of five hearings began today, to consider potential concerns on council amalgamations. It is also an opportunity to give local government and communities the platform to discuss the reform proposals. The committee will be chaired by the Hon Paul Green MLC, who said, “We wish to examine how any forced amalgamations may affect the needs of regional and rural councils and communities, especially in terms of the impact on local economies and the reality of having local issues addressed”. Newcastle Council put forward a submission to the Inquiry. It noted the lack of consultancy with local residents as an issue on the proposed amalgamation between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Council. The hearings will continue into August.

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