About Us

Hunter Community Alliance is a broad based collaboration and is inclusive of community, environmental, ethnic and cultural groups, unions, and religious organisations. Its purpose is to build the power and influence of community organisations that share similar values and motivations.

The Alliance strengthens organisations, and the connectivity between them, through story, training and advocacy – for social and economic progress in the Hunter Region.

The Alliance was born out of a need identified by several local, experienced community leaders and organisers who had seen the model work for Sydney Alliance and Queensland Community Alliance. Many conversations were had over 18 months during 2018-2019 with community leaders throughout the region to tap the enthusiasm for starting the Alliance.

A core group of diverse local organisations then raised funds to employ an organiser. Those organisations were: Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Community Disability Alliance Hunter, Hunter Presbytery of the Uniting Church in Australia and The Wilderness Society Newcastle.

The Hunter Region has a tradition of activism. Many gains have been made to improve the social, economic and natural environment. The challenge remains to transform activism that rises and falls around particular issues to a long-term broad-based community organising structure that continues beyond passing issues for the long-term pursuit of justice.

That is the role of Hunter Community Alliance.

HCA's inaugural steering committee and organiser: Front Dave Belcher (Community Disability Alliance Hunter), Teresa Brierley (Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese), Kath Teagle (Healthy Connection for All, and Newcastle Climate Change Response), Callan Lawrence (organiser), Elle Lawless (The Wilderness Society), Garry Derkenne (Adamstown Uniting Church), Tom Stuart (Charlestown-Garden Suburbs Uniting Church), James Whelan (The Change Agency, Climate Action Newcastle).

Steering Committee

  • Teresa Brierley, Catholic Diocese, Maitland-Newcastle

  • Tom Stuart, Charlestown-Garden Suburbs Uniting Church

  • James Whelan Climate Action Newcastle

  • Dave Belcher, Community Disability Alliance Hunter

  • Andrew Vodic, Community Disability Alliance Hunter

  • Kath Teagle, Healthy Connection for All, and Newcastle Climate Change Response

  • Peter Coughlan - Treasurer, Friend of the Alliance

  • Alyson Segrott - Secretary, Hunter Homeless Connect

The Steering Committee is formed by leaders of the first organisations that committed to develop Hunter Community Alliance. This committee meets bi-monthly and performs a Board oversight function until such time as the Alliance is formally founded and members elect a Board.

MODEL, PURPOSE

Hunter Community Alliance uses an effective organising model first developed by the Industrial Areas Foundation - an alliance of interfaith groups and labour unions in the U.S. It is used by organisations for change globally and has been refined over 70 years and contextualised for Australia and the Hunter Region.

The purpose of our alliances is to strengthen civil society organisations through focused conversations, training and advocacy so that the common good is advanced.

Collaboration builds power. Collaboration is difficult to maintain that is why there is a strong emphasis on building and maintaining relationships between organisational leaders. Relationships come before the discernment of issues.

The strategic direction, the actions we undertake, is steered by a council of representatives from the Alliance's Financial Members. A steering committee currently performs a board function until such time as our Alliance founds as an incorporated organisation with a Board of Directors.

PRINCIPLES

  • Affect the world as it is towards the world as it could/should be for the sake of the Common Good

  • To foster a relational culture among civil society, based on relationships over issues

  • Collaboratively unite diverse civil groups

  • Practice deep and broad listening with diverse people and communities

  • To focus on our shared values and interests

  • Learn, educate and grow in strength, wisdom, action and power together

  • Gain consensus through considered discernment

  • Never do for others what they can do for themselves

  • Implement effective actions informed by the preceding principles

In our inaugural year of 2020, HCA took action for a permanent increase to JobSeeker and the pensions.
Since 2020 we've trained more than 120 people in community organising.