Camera Lens
Media Release

Unemployment increases reflect volatile economic climate

22 October 2020

Hunter Business Chamber welcomes new President and directors 

Trades services proprietor Tony Rhodes has been appointed President of the Hunter Business Chamber following a board election that saw four new directors appointed to the region’s peak business and industry organisation.  

Mr Rhodes, whose Mullane Group contracting company employs more than 250 tradespeople and apprentices, is a former Master Builders Association President who joined the Hunter Business Chamber board in 2018.  

He takes over from Port Waratah Coal Services CEO Hennie du Plooy, who will continue on the board as immediate Past President.  

Also returning for another term are communications and leadership consultant Lauren Eyles as Senior Vice-President, business consultant and director Peter Gesling as Vice-President, financial services specialist Jim Garis as Local Chambers representative and business management advisor Natalie Mitchell, representing Business NSW. 

Four new directors were announced at today’s annual general meeting at Surfhouse, Merewether: 

  • Dianne Hamer, CEO of Castle Personnel; 
  • Holly Martin, Director of the Marketing GP; 
  • Glenn Thornton, Executive Manager, Projects with Port of Newcastle;
  • Paul Tobin, Partner with Sparke Helmore. 

  Mr Rhodes was unable to attend the AGM due to commitments interstate but said he was honoured to be appointed President by the new board following the biennial election of directors. 

“I would like to thank Hennie for the great job he has done guiding the organisation through what have been very challenging times for business in the Hunter,” Mr Rhodes said.  

“I look forward to helping the Chamber lead our business community through a successful period of adaptation and recovery as we emerge from the disruption of the COVID crisis.” 

 Mr Rhodes thanked departing directors Jane Moran, Narelle Redman, Geoff Crowe and long-serving past president Jonathon Vandervoort for their contributions.  

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said he looked forward to working with the new board to provide support and advocacy for business, industry and the Hunter community. 

  “COVID has been a very testing time but it has reinforced the value of the Chamber and the important role we play in responding quickly to business needs and representing the interests of business in our region to decision-makers,” Mr Hawes said.  

“We are grateful to the loyal membership who have continued to support us and the work we do through this difficult period.”

For more information about Hunter Business Chamber Board of Directors visit Our Board 


Amy De Lore
Policy and Public Affairs Manager 
P: 02 9466 5665
M: 0419 218 830


Contact us