Posts in: News

Federal funding announced for Renew Australia!

13 August 2013 | Posted in: News

Great news in Renew Australia land! The Federal Government, through Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have announced today that they will provide $300,000 of funding over the next three years to Renew Australia to support its work in community development and creative projects .

Federal funding will support Renew Australia’s growth and expansion into regional and remote centres and into the suburbs of major cities. This funding will assist Renew Australia to provide practical support including legal advice, insurance and advocacy to interested individuals and groups. This is the first funding that has been made available to support the national roll out of Renew schemes.

“This funding is the first government funding we have been offered to support the national roll out of the Renew Australia model,” Renew Australia founder and director Marcus Westbury said, “it will make a major difference in our ability to respond to and to practically support interest from communities across the country.”

Having started with Renew Newcastle there are already successful Renew based and inspired schemes already running in places such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta and Port Adelaide.

Over the last 12 months Renew Australia has been talking to and working with communities from every state of Australia including Leichhardt, Nowra, Bega, Merimbula, Eden, Frankston, Ballarat, Burnie, Devenport, Launceston, Moss Vale, Mildura, Albany, Fremantle, Moreton Bay, Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, Nambour, Moreland, Maitland, Wollongong, Redcliffe, Point Cook,  Geelong and many more about establishing local empty space activation programs.

Despite extremely limited resources the Renew model has spread across the country to launch hundreds of creative projects including galleries, shops and studios in privately owned buildings that were empty, disused or vandalised. The Renew model is a creative yet effective way to address the problem of empty buildings that plague so many cities and towns while also stimulating economic and community development. As well as creating exciting new opportunities for our creative industries, the Renew model is dramatically improving the amenity of local communities, boosting community confidence and jobs. 

“We are very pleased to learn that the funding for Renew Australia is already included in the Budget and hope that all sides of politics, all candidates and local communities will recognise the value — and potential value — of our work in local communities across Australia,” Mr Westbury said.

The map at the top of this post shows communities that have tried or are developing Renew type empty space programs (in blue), that have met with or visited Renew Newcastle or Renew Australia (green) or have contacted us requesting support (yellow). 

Special Event: The Problems with Property forum August 26th Loop Bar Melbourne

5 August 2013 | Posted in: News

Australian’s for Affordable Housing, Prosper Australia and Renew Australia present

The Problems with Property

Is Australia’s property market permanently broken? House prices are over-inflated, rents are unaffordable and thousands of shops and offices sit empty. How have we done this to our property markets and what can we do about it?

Join Australians for Affordable Housing‘s Joel Pringle, Prosper Australia‘s Karl Fitzgerald and Marcus Westbury from Renew Australia for a lively debate and discussion of the problems of property.

Monday August 26th
6.30 – 8pm
Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Place, Melb

The forum is free but to be assured of a place please RSVP here.

How Can We Help You?

9 April 2013 | Posted in: News

Renew Australia would like to measure the level of interest and need in the community to facilitate Renew initiatives across Australia.

Are you interested in starting your own Renew initiative? Or do you have a main street that is need of some help? We’d love to hear from you via this survey.

Survey applications close 30 April, 2013.

Creating Spaces Conference Wrap-Up

9 April 2013 | Posted in: News

L-R Coralie Winn & Ryan Reynolds of GapFiller Christchurch, Marcus Westbury of Renew Australia and Dan Thompson from UK’s Empty Shops Network.

Renew Australia’s Creating Spaces Conference, held in Newcastle NSW, 12-14 March, brought together a diverse range of regional-based community leaders, councils, arts and economic development professionals from across Australia who are passionate about renewal and creativity, and interested in reactivating spaces within their own communities.

From local champions of community, to international empty shop activators, the conference saw a collision of creative ideas for spaces and some inspiring examples of projects that are activating spaces and communities around the world.

To find out what went on at Creating Spaces, head to the summary pages under the Creating Spaces tab above, or the direct links below:

Conference Summary – Day 1

Conference Summary – Day 2

Conference Summary – Day 3

Attendees during Marcus Westbury’s keynote address.

Creating Spaces

15 February 2013 | Posted in: News


Registrations are filling up fast so don’t delay securing your spot at Creating Spaces Regional Renewal Conference.

Register before Friday 22 February and save $150 per ticket.

To register now and view the full schedule go to

Still trying to decide if you should attend Creating Spaces Conference? Here’s a quick reminder of some of the many reasons to join us:

Hear first-hand from people who have imagined, executed, and inspired others with their space activation projects, such as:

Renew Newcastle
Gap Filler (NZ)
Empty Shops Network (UK)
Pop-Up Parramatta
Renew Adelaide

Network with individuals and groups from all around Australia activating otherwise empty spaces with creative projects.

Build your foundation knowledge with best practice space activation so you can initiate and build similar projects in your own community. Workshops include:

+ The Case for Creating Spaces
+ Empty Space Reconaissance
+ Finding & Working with Property Owners
+ The Necessary Evils: Safety, Compliance, Legals & Insurance
+ Low Budget Conversions
+ Perfect Match: Projects & Spaces
+ Nurturing Creatives
+ Moving Towards Better Regulation
+ Strategic Partnerships
+ Leading From Local Government
+ Managing Expectations

Don’t delay! Register at today.



22 January 2013 | Posted in: News


Renew Australia hits the road with a tour of most capital cities to teach you the nuts and bolts of how to transform empty spaces in your community.

Making the most of empty spaces with creative enterprise is an introduction workshop for anyone interested in turning an empty space into something productive.

Presented by Marcus Westbury, founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia, each day-long event will ensure you leave with an understanding of how to link enterprise with empty spaces – from finding creatives to gaining the support of landlords and everything in between.


Perth – 15 April

For more information and to secure before the early bird rate closes, book now at:  Perth workshop

Download flyer here.

Adelaide – 18 April

For more information and to secure before the early bird rate closes, book now at:  Adelaide workshop

Download flyer here.



+ Early bird special: $399 (includes lunch)

+ Full price: $450

 For more information and to secure early bird rates, click on the appropriate links above.

Creating Space Conference – Subsidy Applications Now Open

29 November 2012 | Posted in: News

Did you hear the exciting news? The Hon Minister Simon Crean announced funding for Renew Australia to organise a community renewal conference in Newcastle in March 2013.

Best news of all? We have a handful of fully subsidised places for community leaders who want to take activating empty spaces in their town to the next level!

Creating Spaces Conference will bring together regional-based community leaders from across Australia who are passionate about renewal and creativity, and interested in reactivating spaces within their own communities.

Whether you are an individual with drive to activate empty spaces in your home town or a local government employee charged with reinventing redundant spaces in your town centre, a member of a  main street organisation, in property development, or another enterprise involved in the activation of spaces, this conference is for you.

As an attendee you will sit down with people who have imagined, executed, and inspired others with their space activation projects, such as Renew Newcastle, Gap Filler (Christchurch, NZ) and Empty Shops Network (UK).

You will learn the impact of creative activation of empty spaces in previously struggling town centres, and be introduced to essential DIY tools and strategies to build creative and engaging spaces and town centre activation.

Most importantly you will leave with inspiration and foundation knowledge to initiate and build similar projects in your own community.

Join your urban renewal peers, and an inspiring group of people involved in successful space activation projects, between 12-14 March 2013 at Newcastle City Hall.

The schedule includes keynote speakers, group workshops, panels, a walking tour to see Renew Newcastle projects, lunches and evening receptions.

Creating Spaces Conference is only possible due to the support of the Australian Government’s Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Art and Sport.



+ Early bird rate, to 18 February 2013 – $495

+ General registration, 19 February 2013 onwards – $645

To learn more about the schedule, speakers and to register your position head to the Conference website now:


To reward and enable inspirational regional community-based leaders to take their renewal initiatives further we are looking for regional community-based leaders who have demonstrated not-for-profit community renewal initiative in their local area voluntarily (not part of paid employment) to apply for a number of fully subsidised places.

Applications close Monday 14 January 2013.

For more details on selection criteria and how to apply head to:

How to convince a property owner to participate in a Renew scheme?

5 November 2012 | Posted in: News

This new video from Renew Newcastle is a great start.

Property Owners of Newcastle: WE WANT YOU! from Renew Newcastle on Vimeo.

Renew Australia training launches

2 October 2012 | Posted in: News

Renew Australia’s purpose is to create community renewal and economic development by linking creative enterprise with spaces. But did you know that we can teach you and your team how to do it?

If you are in Melbourne, we will be holding our first training session on Friday 26 October from 9am to 4pm – ‘Making the most of empty spaces with creative enterprise’. It’s for anyone interested in turning an empty space into something productive.

Book now for our special early bird rate: $399 (normally $450).

Download the 26 October training flyer here or book your ticket through eventbrite. If you want more information or would like to be informed of future workshops contact us directly.

Also if you are working for a Council, a Main Street organisation or in property development, Renew Australia now offers a customised in-house one day training program to introduce you to these ideas and plan how it might work in your area. Talk to us about how we can help your area.

First pilot project launched!

10 September 2012 | Posted in: News

Renew Australia’s first major partnership with a property owner is about to get under way. Renew Australia have teamed up with Stockland to open up space for creative producers across selected Stockland sites in NSW and Victoria.

In this pilot project, we are looking for makers, designers, photographers, printmakers, painters, illustrators, milliners, jewellers, animators, publishers, video and music makers and other creative types to make amazing things happen.

If you think you could fill a space (either retail or an office space) with an exciting project that will generate community interest and creative activity, then please apply. For this pilot project, Stockland is kindly making spaces available in:

–          Stockland Nowra (NSW)

–          Stockland Vincentia (NSW)

–          Point Cook Town Centre (Vic)

Spaces, that are otherwise underutilised, are being offered to the best projects on a rolling 30 day licence. This is an exciting opportunity to test your ideas, promote your business and contribute to community renewal.

Expressions of interest close 9am Monday 8 October 2012.

For more information and our application form at

This is the first of several Renew Australia projects that we will be rolling out in conjunction with local communities and property owners over coming months. For more information about these and other opportunities as they become available don’t forget to join Renew Australia’s mailing list.