Newcastle Now is a Business Improvement Association. It is a membership based, not for profit organisation that is primarily funded by a levy paid by all commercial building owners within a specific area of Newcastle's city centre (our member base), as well as by fee for service arrangements and other funding sources. It is governed by an annually elected committee of management drawn from the member base.
A business improvement association is an organisation created to service a business improvement district or area (BID or BIA). These areas or districts
are specific geographic zones, with distinct boundaries. Commercial buildings within the zones or districts pay a special levy which funds activities focused
on improving that specific area. Often these activities are partially conducted by local governments, however the businesses within the areas wish to supplement
those activities to a higher standard. A good example would be street cleaning. The local council may fund street cleaning, but the standard the businesses
would like to see is higher than the council can meet, so the BIA can step in to supplement that service.
In many places the precursor to a BID forming is the traditional ‘Main street committee’ of many cities. Indeed, Newcastle Now’s historic predecessor includes the Newcastle Main Street Committee.
In order for an area to become a BID, generally businesses within a geographic area would informally agree to the idea, and would approach the local government to start the process of application. Council will direct a formal consultation process to take place, so that businesses affected by a levy can have their say, and finally a submission to the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) will rule whether the levy can be imposed. Once that is approved, Council can institute the levy and the funds can be passed on to an organisation, like Newcastle Now, to use the funds to benefit the businesses in that area.
The funds to undertake our activities are compulsorily paid by commercial building owners within
our geographic boundaries. This may mean that the business operator tenants will pay the levy in
their ‘outgoings’ without directly being aware it is a cost. Council maintains the list of building
owners, and collects the funds paid. Newcastle Now has a service agreement with Newcastle Council
to provide Business Improvement activities, and it passes on the levy to fund those activities.
Newcastle Now is fully accountable for the funds we receive, and we report an acquittal of those funds twice a year.
We are a non-profit organisation, separate from council, and are eligible to engage in fee-for-service arrangements, for example, we provide business improvement services to the Honeysuckle precinct as a service for a fee from Hunter Development Corporation. We are also eligible to seek funding and grants from other bodies.
Like most business improvement associations around the world, Newcastle Now is a wholly separate body from the local council. Though we work closely with
council, including ensuring strategic objectives are met, and providing full acquittals of funds, we are not an ‘arm’ of council.
We are a member organisation and are governed by a constitution which is lodged with the Department of Fair Trading like all other member organisations.
A committee of management, which is often referred to as our ‘board’, is the oversight body of the organisation. The board, made up of volunteers, is drawn from our members or their nominees in accordance with the constitution. Each year at the AGM the board positions are declared vacant. All full members of Newcastle Now are eligible to vote at the AGM as well as to stand for election, or to nominate someone to stand on their behalf.
The committee of management employs an executive manager to oversee the day to day activities of the organisation. The executive manager reports each month at board meetings on the running of the organisation.
For more information on becoming a full member, see our ‘become a member’ page.
For more information on our committee of management see our ‘people’ page.