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Hunter Wetlands Centre

The Hunter Wetlands Centre can now be more financially sustainable with a refurbished conference space thanks to a $20,000 joint funding donation from Glencore Coal and Port Waratah Coal Services.

The centre is a community-run not-for-profit organisation helping to restore and protect the wetlands environment in Newcastle. In the mid-1980s the centre as it’s known today was the site of an old Marist Rugby Ground and over the previous century the old Hexham swamp that was there had been filled for development, rubbish dumps, railways, and recreation.

Dr Max Maddock, a Professor of Education at the University of Newcastle turned the site into a wetland that is now home to over 200 bird species over 45 acres of restored land.

The joint funding donation from Glencore and Port Waratah saw the existing conference space refurbished with a contemporary refreshed interior, new wiring, upgraded conferencing equipment and a state-of-the-art 85-inch presentation system.

General Manager James Wilson said the new-look space will have a truly positive impact across all areas of the centre.

“We’re so lucky to be able to receive the funding to be able to do this. It’s going to mean a lot for the centre in terms of financial sustainability. It means we can grow our income sustainably ourselves rather than reach out to people for funding, and we also have community groups who use the space so they’re really happy.

“We have four community groups who use the space every week and then we have a lot of groups like National Parks who hire out the space too.

“It’s such a beautiful space, you can now step out of the refurbished conference facilities and look out onto the beautiful pond and the birds.”

Glencore’s Coal Assets Communications and Community Relations Officer Tracey Sneddon said they had been in conversation with the centre about redoing the room for a while.

“It is beautiful, it’s so fresh and welcoming which is what you would expect when you come into a centre like this. It is really professional. It’s got great state-of-the-art equipment and comfortable seats – a great place for small or large groups to gather.

“It’s great for the Hunter Wetlands to have this independence and be able to sustainably support themselves.

“We’re really proud of the partnership that we have, it’s not just working with the centre handing out money but working with the board and the members to give them the best value for the money that we supply.”

Karen Marples, Sustainability & Community Relations Advisor Port Waratah Coal Services said they’re equally proud of the relationship they’ve built with the Hunter Wetlands Centre.

“Port Waratah together with Glencore are very proud to support the Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia in this project to refurbish two excellent conference spaces. The now high-quality facilities amongst the picturesque setting of the wetlands are a fantastic opportunity for local corporates and community groups to utilise this space, increase visitation and understanding of the wetlands and help with the conservation efforts of the centre.”

To find out more about the Hunter Wetlands Centre and to book the conference space head to: https://www.wetlands.org.au/ The Centre also has big celebrations planned for it’s 40th birthday in September so keep up to date at the website!

Image: James Wilson and Peter Nelson (Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia) together with Tracey Snedden (Glencore) and Karen Marples (Port Waratah) proudly open the new conference facilities with local community group members and long serving volunteers.

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