Home' Hunter Its People : June 2010 Contents 4 THE HERALD Thursday, June 24, 2010
Look for the BIG BLUE building - www.spaworld.com.au
Spa World Warners Bay 183 Macquarie Rd, Warners Bay (02) 4956 5588
Clearance on Now!
An Australian in China
Call in and talk to Charlie and the team at
Spa World Warners Bay
25 years ago Monarch Spas started
manufacturing spas in Australia and
three years ago switched their base of
manufacture to China and not long after
due to the GEC Monarch Spas International
was put into voluntary liquidation.
Two years ago A Tech manufacturing
who were producing Monarch spas
formed an alliance with Adam Fisher and
his company Spa Man and 02 Spas was
Adam took the best aspects of the
Monarch Spas, their shell designs, jet
placement, hydraulic design and use
of the Spa Net equipment and then
re-engineered the less desirable attributes
of the spas.
Adam spends half his time at the factory
in China, never being away for more than
four weeks. This means he is always in
control of the production and is an integral
part of the production management team.
This is what differentiates 02 Spas from all
other Chinese built spas on the Australian
market -- An Australian in China!
It makes sense to buy a spa direct from
the manufacturer. Not only can it save
you hundreds of dollars, you are also
guaranteed the quality will be second to
We have the biggest showroom in
the Hunter with more than 25 spas
Call in and see our new range of saunas
THE HUNTER ...
QUESTION: Who are the people of influence in
the Hunter Valley today?
Answer: There are simply too many of them to list.
There's no doubt about it, there are plenty of
people of importance in the Hunter as well as plenty of
people of importance to the Hunter.
Some are important because of their positions:
Think politicians, heads of government bodies, major
businessmen and people like the CEO of Hunter New
England Health, Nigel Lyons, who has more than
14,000 staff under his command, or Gary Webb, CEO of
Newcastle Port Corporation which pushes through more
than $17 billion in trade a year.
Some are important because of what they give to the
community: Think charities and the people behind
community icons like Star Struck, Westpac Rescue
Helicopter and surf life saving services.
Some are important to the region's future: Think the
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor
Nick Saunders, who has 30,000 leaders of tomorrow under
Some assume importance to tackle an issue: Think
Bickham Coalmine Action Group chairman Peter Haydon,
who helped with almost 10 years of campaigning in the
successful fight to reject a massive coal mine in the Hunter
that has been lauded as the saviour of the region's multi-
billion-dollar thoroughbred industry.
A case could be made for all of the 600,000-odd Hunter
residents to be important in some way. But, for better or
worse, some undoubtedly leave a greater footprint in the
earth of the valley than others.
At the grassroots level the first port of call for influence is
probably the region's mayors, including Newcastle's John
Tate, who seems to be courted by both sides of politics and
may yet get elected to higher office, and Lake Macquarie's
Greg Piper, who is also the Independent Member for Lake
In the political field, if the Prime Minister of Australia,
Mr Rudd, is considered starting at the top, there is little
doubt the Member for Charlton, Greg Combet, has his ear.
Coming through the ACTU he represents a massive
power base and Mr Rudd is known to take his counsel.
He has turned to him as a problem solver when the
government has been in trouble, first when Penny Wong
was having problems with her Climate Change and Water
portfolio, and then when the pink batts hit the fan in the
insulation affair, where Peter Garrett was bypassed and
Combet was given responsibility for winding up the scheme
and putting the new Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme in
place. Combet is known as a man capable of thinking his
way around problems and who can negotiate, as evidenced
by his time as ACTU boss when he oversaw national wage
cases and bitter campaigns like the 1998 waterfront dispute.
Already a man of the present, he may be an even bigger
force in the future.
In business the Hunter is home to bosses of major
national firms, such as Mark Fitzgibbon of NIB and Geoff
Plummer of OneSteel, while other home-grown successes
include Jeff McCloy, a massive contributor to charities as well
as a business star and one of the men behind Newcastle's Fix
Our City group, Bill Saddington and Nathan Tinkler.
Then there are the workers for the community, those
who give the Hunter its soul.
John Deacon has been the face of Star Struck since its
inception, likewise Warren Smith with Surfest.
Richard Jones is the face of the Westpac Rescue
Helicopter, Cec Shevells of the Samaritans and Leonie
Forsythe of Kidsafe Hunter, while Margaret McNaughton
has performed community service since the age of 12.
There are those who fight for what they believe is best
for the community, like Newcastle's Save Our Rail Group
president Joan Dawson and heritage activist Doug Lithgow.
Sport stars are as common as coal in the Hunter and
people who do research into such things say the region's
most admired and identifiable is Paul Harragon, with
Andrew Johns and Mark Richards keeping him company
at the top of the sporting heap.
There is no hope of compiling a comprehensive list of
who are the Hunter's most influential people. It is just
known that there are plenty of them, many who probably do
not even have a public profile. The best that can be done is
offer up the following three dozen as examples of the men
and women of the region who could be considered movers
and shakers in the place they call home.
DOZEN HEAVY HIT TERS
Combet studied mining engineering, worked in
occupational health and safety then became a union
official, along the way adding an economics degree and a
graduate diploma in labour relations and the law.
He worked for the Waterside Workers Federation, joined
the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1993 and was its
leader from 1999 to 2007, where he oversaw national wage
cases, led the unions in the 1998 waterfront dispute and the
union campaign that secured employee entitlements for
16,000 workers after the collapse of Ansett, among other
major campaigns. He is a former director of Members
Equity Bank and the $30 billion Australian Super fund and
was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006.
Elected the federal Member for Charlton in 2007, he
was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary in the Rudd
government, in 2009 appointed the Parliamentary
Secretary for Climate Change and later Minister for
Defence Personnel, Material and Science and the Minister
Assisting the Minister for Climate Change. This year he
became Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change
and Energy Efficiency, giving him responsibility for
winding up the insulation program and putting the new
Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme in place.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd backed by Greg Combet
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