The University of Newcastle, Australia

Bengalla Continues a Rich History of Local Collaboration for Community Gain

Monday, 8 April 2019

Upper Hunter communities will benefit from a new philanthropic partnership.

HRFC lead economist Dr Anthea Bill delivers the economic health check at a recent Upper Hunter Economic Breakfast

This new collaboration is between Bengalla Mining Company and the Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre at the University of Newcastle.The focus of the HRF Centre is providing rigorous, independent research and analysis which builds the economic and social strength of the Hunter region. One of the ways in which this analysis is shared with the community is through an economic breakfast series. These key networking events in our region disseminate business intelligence.

Bengalla has generously committed to helping support two breakfast events per year in the Upper Hunter. Businesses, community and non- profit groups, local government and individuals will be able to access this crucial information. They will be part of important conversations between businesses and other sectors to help generate positive change in the Upper Hunter communities.

“Bengalla’s commitment to research and engagement in the Upper Hunter economy helps us to build the knowledge, connections, capacity and resilience of Upper Hunter communities. We are very grateful for their ongoing support of the HRF Centre’s programs in the Upper Hunter.” - Professor Will Rifkin, Chair in Applied Regional Economics HRF Centre Director

Bengalla’s support of the Upper Hunter economic breakfasts is recent. However, they date back to 2002 and are modelled on the quarterly Hunter Economic Breakfast series. This continuing series was introduced in 1988 under the leadership of alumnus Dr WEJ Paradice AM (Honorary Degree – Doctor of Letters 2009), then Director of the Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF - the precursor to the HRF Centre). The six annual breakfast events continue to attract more than 1,300 participants a year and have touched the lives of many thousands of Hunter people.

The HVRF was established by Professor Cyril Renwick (Honorary Degree - Doctor of the Univesity 1990) in 1956 ‘to study and influence economic growth in the Hunter Valley’. The Foundation immediately set to work collaborating widely and solving problems caused by the 1955 Maitland flood. In the years that followed the HVRF grew into a highly respected – and highly independent – source of valuable economic  information.

This important role hasn’t changed. Under the leadership of Professor Will Rifkin, the Hunter Research Foundation Centre opened in the Faculty of Business and Law in 2017. It delivers socio-economic research and analysis, which builds strength in regional communities. The Centre’s analysts continue to ‘connect the dots’ to explain which factors contribute to economic upturns and downturns and outline their flow-on effects. This enables businesses, not-for- profits, investors and individuals – including the University  of Newcastle - to make well-informed business decisions.

To join the next Economic Breakfast to be held on 24 May in Newcastle at a special University supporter rate, please contact

To attend the next Upper Hunter Economic Breakfast in Muswellbrook on 10 April, go to the Hunter Research Foundation Centre website

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