The Newcastle 500 is on track to return to the city’s streets in March next year after councillors voted to support new dates for the event.
The event is set to be held in Newcastle on 10-12 March 2023 as the season-opening race, although its staging is still subject to approval from State Government agencies including the Heritage Council of NSW, NSW Office of Sport and Destination NSW.
Supercars Australia is awaiting the outcome of its application under Section 60 (S60) of the Heritage Act 1977 to facilitate holding the last Newcastle 500 event under the existing agreement, as the existing S60 for the Camp Shortland area expired in April 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the final race scheduled under the existing contract between Destination NSW, City of Newcastle and Supercars Australia from proceeding in 2021 and 2022.
Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said Council’s support of the March 2023 date ensures clarity for local business and residents.
“Clarifying these new dates in March provides a good alternative to the previous season-closing events in terms of maximising the potential of the event from an economic perspective while also minimising disruption to the community and business operators,” Lord Mayor Nelmes said.
“The most recent economic assessment report by Ernst and Young found that on average, the Newcastle 500 delivered $36.2 million annually in total economic impact, which when compared with the $1.6 million cost of Council supporting the race, equates to $22.60 being returned to the local economy for every $1 council invested in the race.
“Local tourism and accommodation providers that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 will be looking forward to benefiting from the economic stimulus provided by the Newcastle 500’s likely return in March next year,” she said.
Council has also committed to partner with Destination NSW to prepare and publicly exhibit a community engagement plan in order to deliver extensive and broad community and stakeholder consultation on the potential to extend the current Supercars 500 agreement beyond 2023.
“The future of the Newcastle 500 beyond the final race is a decision of the NSW Government in the first instance as the consent authority for the race,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Any inclusion of Newcastle as a potential host city for another five years will be subject to broad community and stakeholder consultation, and a decision of the elected Council after the proposed event next mid to late 2023.”
Councillors also voted to delegate authority to the CEO to enter necessary agreements to facilitate the March 2023 Newcastle 500. The agreements to enable the March 2023 event will be communicated to Councillors and published on City of Newcastle’s website.