Camera Lens
Media Release



The region’s peak business organisation, Business Hunter, has congratulated the Hunter Business Award Winners for 2021, celebrating with more than 70 business finalists and sixteen winners from across the region in a night full of colour, fanfare and excitement at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre.

The evening kicked off with a surprise encore set of the recently staged Metropolitan Players performance of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert by an ensemble cast and proceeded through sixteen categories of Awards recognising the Hunter’s finest.

Business Hunter CEO, Bob Hawes said the night had a real flair of celebration set right from the get-go and the atmosphere was one of festivity and recognition of the enduring challenges faced by many businesses in 2021.

“It was an evening marked by a celebration of success, ultimately,” Mr Hawes said.

“Our business communities came together to pay homage to one another and tribute each other’s achievements in another tumultuous year,” Mr Hawes said.

“While we all had hopes for a return to our highly anticipated and traditional Gala Dinner for the Awards this year, the Delta variant of COVID-19 had other ideas; and once again, our business community embraced the event in droves.”

“We saw winners from diverse sectors – energy and coal, natural cosmetics and products, environmental organisations and small businesses and entrepreneurs driving new business and industry in the Hunter.

“Our Award winners this year really showed how diverse and ready our region is to grow and contribute to the recovery economy in Australia,” Mr Hawes said.

• Stephen Hunt of Hunt Hospitality took out Business Leader of the Year amidst a strong list of finalists, adding another string to his recent bow of recognition for business excellence.

• Port of Newcastle won the Contribution to the Region Award and Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce took out Local Chamber of the Year.

• Deck Café at Lovedale won the Innovation and Adaptability category for their innovation in spearheading a take-away degustation menu to bring deliciousness into locked-down homes, with many other food outlets following suit.

Business Hunter President Tony Rhodes said that the Awards showcased the business community’s entrepreneurial spirit with a focus on community and sustainability central to the categories.

Mr Rhodes was delighted to present the Business Hunter President’s Award to the COVID-19 Response Team at Hunter New England Local Health District.

“This year was a year to acknowledge community as well as business,” Mr Rhodes said.

“With COVID’s enduring impact throughout 2021, it was important that our Board recognise that business contribution is sometimes reflected through community organisations like Hunter New England Health.

“It was clear this year that the team stepped up and delivered day in and day out for our community when we needed them the most.”

• Imaginelle of Redhead won the Excellence in Sustainability award for their range of organic, cruelty and nasties-free care and cosmetic products.

• Youth Express took out the Excellence in Community Enterprise for their work finding atrisk youth communities education and employment pathways.

“All of our winners should be credited for the advances they have made this year,” Mr Rhodes said.

The Awards returned more than 120 entries in 2021 and were finalised down to 70 entrants across the categories. Mr Hawes said that this showed the region had an appetite of resilience and success despite the challenges at our feet.

“Not all industries in the Hunter were adversely impacted by the events of the past two years, but by and large our Awards showcased the endurance of our region and our capacity to continue to deliver for our region in spite of what else is going on.”

“We continue to show that we are a region ready and I congratulate all our finalists and winners once again,” he said.

All Hunter Business Award winners will automatically be deemed finalists in the Business NSW State Business Awards being held virtually on 26 November 2021


Category and sponsor WINNERS AND FINALISTS

President’s Award

Proudly sponsored by Newcastle Permanent.

WINNER: Hunter New England Local Health District

Note, this award does not move up to the State awards.

Business Leader of the Year

Proudly sponsored by CPA Australia

WINNER: Stephen Hunt - Hunt Hospitality


Christina Tulloch - Tulloch Wines

Craig Carmody - Port of Newcastle


Daniel Stoddart - Hall & Wilcox

Tim Faulkner - Aussie Ark

Lesleigh Adie - Our Care

Ian Jones - Merchant Brokers

Leah Gabolinscy - Ramsay Health Care

Contribution to the Region

Proudly sponsored by Port Authority of NSW

Winner: Port of Newcastle

Highly Commended:

NIER - Newcastle Institute for Energy & Resources


Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club

Aussie Ark

Catherine Henry Lawyers

Excellence in Business

Proudly sponsored by NSW Minerals Council

Winner: CPR Plant Repairs and Maintenance

Highly Commended:

Ourcare Services Ltd


The Remington Muswellbrook

Ourcare Services Limited


Empowered Community Services

CH4 Drilling Pty Ltd.

Catherine Henry Lawyers

Reach for Training

Morgan Engineering NSW

Atune Health Centres

Excellence in Community Enterprise

Proudly presented by Business Hunter

Winner: Youth Express

Highly commended:

Compass Housing Services


Hume Community Housing

Curious Legends Limited

Early Links - Inclusion Support Services for the Hunter Region

The Place: Charlestown Community Centre

Atwea College

Excellence in Sustainability

Proudly sponsored by Umwelt

Winner: Imaginelle

Highly commended:

Compass Housing Services


Hunter New England Local Health District: Sustainable Healthcare - Together Towards Zero 2030

Member Jungle

Port of Newcastle

Kristen Keegan Young Business Leader

Proudly sponsored by Quarry Mining

Winner: Steven Fordham: Blackrock Industries

Highly Commended:

Alicia Floyer: Next Legal and Conveyancing


Kiraley Muller: Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator

Scott Lynch: Community Therapy

Brodie Meney: Aussie Ark

Jade Cupitt: The Shed Fitness

Jonathon Power: Empowered Community Services

Lachlan Page: Mullane & Lindsay

Tricia Martin: Virtual Intern

Jarad Ruprecht: Bottrell Business Consultants

Start Up Superstar

Proudly presented by Business Hunter

Winner: Grub Lab


Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary

Direct Business Hub

Luxe Lakeside

Compeat Nutrition

Excellence in Export

Proudly sponsored by Port of Newcastle

Winner: McLanahan Corporation


GrainCorp Carrington

Excellence in Innovation & Adaptability

Proudly sponsored by Whiteley

Winner: Deck Café Lovedale


Fire Response

Merchant Business Brokers

Newcastle Permanent

Solar Cube Stand-Alone Power System (SAPS)

Morrissey Law + Advisory

Design Anthology

Excellence in Micro Business

Proudly sponsored by Glencore

Winner: Ancient Wisdom Writers


Hunter Allied Care

AJM Photography

SD Strategies Pty Ltd


Excellence in Small Business

Proudly sponsored by Newcastle Herald

Winner: Aussie Ark


Fire Response

Tulloch Wines

Red Parrot Coffee

HyperWeb Pty Ltd

CPR Pest Management Services

Merchant Business Brokers


Scion Audio and Events

Local Chamber of Commerce

Proudly sponsored by AGL

WINNER: Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry


Singleton Business Chamber

Bulahdelah Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Inc.

Love Water Love Business

Proudly sponsored by Hunter Water

Winner: Port Waratah Coal Services



Outstanding Employee

Proudly presented by Business Hunter

Winner: Kelly Davis: Aussie Ark


Nicky Moody: Belgravia Leisure

Mark Ward: Empowered Community Services

Fiona Williams: Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Emma McDonald : Matt Hall Racing

Outstanding Employer of Choice

Proudly presented by Business Hunter

Winner: Hume Community Housing

Highly Commended:

Morrissey Law + Advisory


PSCares – delivered by Port Stephens Council.

The Marketing GP

Catherine Henry Lawyers

Hall & Wilcox

Port of Newcastle

Hicksons Lawyers

Compass Housing Services

The Rainbow Clinic


Bob Hawes
P: 02 9466 4665
M: 0418 496 745


Contact us