HunterNet is widely recognised within Australian manufacturing and academia as the most successful industry ‘cluster’ of its type nationally. Incorporated in 1992, HunterNet is a network of manufacturing, engineering and specialist services companies located in the Hunter and Central Coast Regions of NSW. Formed as a non-trading, not for profit Co-Operative, it involves over 200 companies, active in national and international infrastructure & asset management, energy & resources, defence and advanced manufacturing supply chains.

HunterNet provides members numerous support programs covering areas such as:

  • Business Development
  • Business Systems & Processes.
  • WHS & Training.
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Innovation
  • Business Improvement; and
  • Government Advocacy

The network provides member companies with the opportunity to take part in activities previously out of reach of smaller enterprises including training and development, networking, joint marketing initiatives, joint project bids, focused task forces, trade missions and tendering.  Further, through its subsidiary (HunterNet Group Training Company) HunterNet manages the training and development program for apprentices and trainees across a diverse range of disciplines on behalf of its member host companies.

Relationships with key bodies such as Industry & Investment NSW, Regional Development Australia – Hunter, AusTrade and the University of Newcastle provide the network with additional support, services and weight in the political and business arena.

The success of HunterNet Members in winning work from major projects in sectors such as energy & resources, defence, infrastructure & asset management and advanced manufacturing will be a key factor in achieving future success for the region as the Hunter and Central Coast gears up for the next stage of industrial and economic development.

About the Hunter and Central Coast Region



Australia’s preeminent network for leading industry collaboration and innovation.


HunterNet drives manufacturing, engineering and specialist services to achieve sustainable and innovative globally competitive markets.


  • Trust
  • Openness/transparency
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Social Responsibility
  • Safety First
  • The Power of Many


Tony Cade - CEO HunterNet

Tony Cade

Chief Executive Officer

In 2013, Tony Cade became the Chief Executive Officer of HunterNet Co-operative Limited, a Hunter based network of Engineering and Manufacturing companies. He is responsible for the planning and management of the operations of the network and its subsidiary, HunterNet Group Training Company. In this role, Tony works closely with the network’s membership as well as industry, Government and professional bodies throughout the Hunter and Central Coast regions.

Tony is a member of a variety of Boards and Advisory Groups, including:

University of Newcastle, Vice Chancellors Leaders Forum Member
Director, Hunter Defence Support Network (HDSN)
Director, Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park
University of Newcastle, Faculty of Business and Law, Corporate Advisory Group Member
EPA Lake Macquarie Lead Reference Group Member
Salvation Army Red Sheild Appeal Fundraising Committee Member

Wayne Diemar - Project Director

Wayne Diemar

Project Director

Wayne is a Project Director for HunterNet. Although only starting in the role in July 2014, Wayne has been a member of HunterNet for the past six years.
Prior to his role in HunterNet, Wayne worked for Downer as an Operations Manager, Area Manager, Mechanical Services Manager and as their Business Development Manager.
Wayne has experience working in the Power, Food, Manufacturing and Construction industries.
These roles have been underpinned by trade qualifications, a diploma in Management and leadership from Hunter TAFE and an MBA from the University of Newcastle.
Wayne’s role within HunterNet is to provide support and assistance to the members through collaboration, access to opportunities, networks and services to assist the growth and development of their business.

Renae Gifford

Project Director

Renae joined HunterNet in early 2016 in the role of Project Director. Working with the HunterNet team, Renae’s focus will be to provide support and assistance to the members.

Renae has a diverse background, working across a number of industries and disciplines. During her time working as an environmental consultant, she managed major project approvals for numerous sectors including infrastructure, maritime, industry and resources.

During her career Renae has also held a number of leadership roles and has been responsible for the management of small to medium enterprises. Renae has skills in financial management, human resources and commercial management. She also has experience in managing business offshore, most recently in Papua New Guinea.

Renae holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science and a Masters of Business Administration and is currently completing her Masters in Marketing through the University of Newcastle.

Jacqui Warren - Administration Manager HunterNet

Jacqui Warren

Administration Manager

HunterNet welcomed Jacqui to the HunterNet team as Administration Manager in August 2016. Her role is to support both the HunterNet staff and membership base by organising HunterNet’s events and performing administrative duties.
Jacqui has over six years’ experience in administration, having worked in both medical and legal firms. She also has experience in hospitality, specialising in events and conferences.
Jacqui is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws degree, majoring in psychology, through the University of New England, due to complete mid 2017. Jacqui is keen to pursue studies in business and learn from the knowledge and experience of her colleagues at HunterNet.



Board of Directors

Steve Tolley - Chairman HunterNet

Steven Tolley

Chairman (appointed 2016)

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director Boleh Consulting

Steve has extensive experience in the rail, mining, aluminium, steel and contracting industries and has been involved in the Hunter Business Community throughout his career. Steve has a mechanical trade as well as tertiary qualifications in mechanical and electrical engineering, a Master of Business Administration and CPPD certification with the Australian Institute of Project Management. His grassroots stem from heavy industry, maintenance and manufacturing and he is now working in a professional services consultancy business.

Steve is the Chief Operating Officer of Boleh Consulting, which is a locally founded business with offices in Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne. Boleh Consulting works across various heavy industries providing strategic, engineering, project management and commercial support to their clients by adding value to their business though their extensive capability and lateral thinking.
Steve has previously held senior roles with Pacific National, Thomas & Coffey, Thiess and Downer. He has strong commercial acumen, is achievement orientated and has the ability to build a positive team culture that focusses on empowering the team to deliver results.

Steve is committed to the HunterNet vision of being recognised as the preeminent regional industry peak body in Australia for leading collaboration and innovation. He is focused on building growth and prosperity in our region and has a strong focus on strengthening our members and our regions capability to support our drive to be competitive in today’s global market.

Kari Armitage - Vice Chair HunterNet

Kari Armitage

Vice Chair (appointed 2017)

MD, Quarry Mining and Construction Equipment P / L

Kari has over 25 years experience in the Mining, Construction and Civil Sectors and, in 2003, gained her Master of Business Technology.

In 2005 Kari joined Quarry Mining & Construction Equipment Ltd as a Director, becoming Managing Director in 2006. She is the driving force behind the trademark that is Quarry Mining today.

Kari possesses a Master of Business Technology and Diploma of Business.

John Gambrill - Director

John Gambrill


Project Manager, Mullane Construction Plumbing

In 2014, John commenced his role as Project Manager at Mullane Construction Plumbing.

Over the past 30 years, John has gained broad experience in maintenance, construction and fabrication through servicing the power, steel, aluminium, waterfront, utilities and mining sectors.

In 1994, John joined Newcastle Field Maintenance as BHP Site Manager and in 1995 was appointed General Manager of Newcastle Field Maintenance, remaining in this role till 2013.

John has worked as a mechanical and project engineer for BHP, The Electricity Commission of NSW and ABB Constructions.

John has previously held the position of Vice Chair of the Hunter Manufacturing Council and a current member of the Hunter Industry Leaders Council.

Tim Hardy - Director

Tim Hardy


General Manager, Newcastle Machine Shop

With over 35 years experience in the manufacturing industry, Tim began his career as an apprentice fitter/machinist in the UK. After studying Mechanical Engineering part time, he went from apprentice to Production Manager with the same company, before holding positions as Quality Manager & Production Controller with a number of Engineering companies. Following his arrival in Australia in 1990, Tim has held a number of Management roles with Onesteel Waratah, Sandvik Hydamatic and Waratah Engineering, before joining Newcastle Machine Shop as General Manager in 2004.

Mark Hickey - Director

Mark Hickey


Partner and Chairman, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Mark is a senior corporate lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience advising on corporate transactions, capital raisings and major development and infrastructure projects in Australia and the Middle East. He leads Sparke Helmore Lawyers’ Corporate team in the Hunter and has had many leadership roles within Sparke Helmore, including being a member of the firm’s Board for nine years. He was elected Chairman of Partners in July 2015.

A NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Business Law, Mark has substantial negotiation and transactional skills. His clients include major and medium-sized corporates, private equity funds, and state-owned corporations. He works closely with them, providing corporate transaction and advisory services involving mergers, acquisitions and disposals for mid-market SMEs in the mining services, bio-techs, technology and engineering sectors, corporate reconstructions for mid-market clients and capital raisings and IPO listings. He is particularly focused on restructuring businesses for mergers, private equity investment and listing on the ASX and AIM (UK), and advising company Boards on legal strategies for merger, equity raisings and restructures.

Mark has been acknowledged once again as a leading lawyer in the AFR’s Best Lawyers 2017.

Leigh Bryant - Director

Leigh Bryant


Group Marketing Manager, Scorpion International

Leigh’s experience in the private sector spans over 30 years as a business owner/director and now group sales manager, for Scorpion International Freight services Pty Ltd and the national Powerhouse Group of companies.

Her skill set encompasses a wide range of business capabilities including: Marketing/Public, Relations/Sales/Customer, Relations/Human, Resource Management/Mentoring/Corporate Communication/Business Development/Organisational Change Management and international trade related professional skills in addition to support services to the manufacturing sector.
As a professional director in the public and private sector, experience in governance, conflict
resolution, chairing meetings, public speaking, liason and negotiation with government and industry, are additional learnings over her work time span.

Previous roles in Regional and State Economic Development, business mentoring and global trade facilitation as chair of the Hunter Export Centre, Deputy Chair of HEDC and prior experience as co founder of OWIT (organisation for Women in International Trade) HBWN (Hunter Business Women’s Network) and WIBAS (Women in Building and Associated Services) have provided a platform for personal and professional development over many years as an active business participant in local, state, national and international forums.

Being honoured in September 2011, for Outstanding Contribution to Regional Exporting by Industry & Invest NSW was a personal highlight in a sector she has a great passion for and commitment to.

Current board and committee membership:
Director, Scorpion Services Pty Ltd
Director, IWGQ/Industry Working Group Quarantine
Director, Hunter Manufacturing Incorporated
Councillor, NSW Business Chamber
Councillor, DCCC/Australian Quarantine and Industry Council
Member, BEE Committee NSWBC
Member, ACCI Trade Committee
Member, Newcastle University Community Engagement Council
Member, GP Access Nomination Committee

Lyndell Fogarty - Director

Lyndell Fogarty


CEO, PerformHR

Lyndell is CEO and one of the founders of performHR, an organisation providing small to mid tier businesses across Australia with a virtual HR department, accessible 5 days a week. She is also the co-founder of performPAY, a fully outsourced payroll solution for organisations nationally.

With extensive commercial experience across a number of industries including finance, transport, insurance and health, some of the clients Lyndell has worked with include Westpac Bank, Vodafone, IMA, QBE Insurance, Allianz Insurance, RAAF, Linfox, Franklins, British Aerospace (BAE Systems), Southern Cross Community Health and RTA.

Lyndell thrives on coming up with innovative yet pragmatic solutions to enhance organisational performance. Along with her broad HR knowledge she also has solid experience in all facets of Instructional Design and she is an engaging, gifted and dynamic facilitator and presenter.

Her enthusiasm for obtaining great results in any project she undertakes has resulted in consistent client referrals. Her energy, dedication to excellence and belief in what she is doing coupled with her broad industry experience ensures she is always able to add value for her clients.

Lyndell possesses a degree in Finance and a Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resource Management.

Tony Cade - CEO HunterNet

Tony Cade

Chief Executive Officer

HunterNet Co-Operative Ltd

In 2013, Tony Cade became the Chief Executive Officer of HunterNet Co-operative Limited.
Prior to HunterNet, Tony held the position of Group General Manager, Veolia Environment and senior executive positions within WSN, the Hunter Waste Planning and Management Board, Newcastle City Council and BHP Steel.

Tony possesses strong leadership skills, a track record in developing and implementing business and strategic plans, has extensive experience in building business relationships, and is well connected with all three (3) tiers of government. Further, Tony has an extensive network of alliances and relationships with many charitable and community organisations.

Tony possesses tertiary qualifications in metallurgy and economics and has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School (Boston), Wharton Business School (Pennsylvania), and IMD (Switzerland).


The Idea is Born


The Idea is Born

Key players exposed to the idea of networking and at the same time, there was a push from BHP, Goninan and Tomago Aluminium for smaller manufacturers to group together in order to achieve more consistent quality standards.

14 member companies agreed on the co-operative structure of HunterNet, fee-based membership and three key aims: to develop the capabilities of members, to grow market opportunities and to reduce the costs of supplying services.

HunterNet incorporated


HunterNet incorporated

(Image: Mr Joss De Iuliis, HunterNet inaugural Chairman of the Board)

HunterNet was incorporated as a registered, member-funded, not-for-profit co-operative.  Formally launched by Dr Ken Moss with $30,000k Federal Government seed funding provided.

Mr Joss De Iuliis was the inaugural Chairman of the Board

First monthly forum held on Quality Assurance.

New Business Manager


New Business Manager

Mr Harvey Knox became Business Manager.

Formation of HunterNet Group Training Company


Formation of HunterNet Group Training Company

HunterNet has financial independence, with support from members, sponsors and patrons.  HunterNet standing firmly on its own two feet.

HunterNet’s boldest move in regard to training was the formation of HunterNet Group Training Company, a company to administer and coordinate the training of HunterNet members’ apprentices. Its first full-time Training Manager was Mr Wayne Gillett, followed by Mr Murray Christie from 2000.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr John McColl.

HunterNet Presents $30mil project to Prime Minister


HunterNet Presents $30mil project to Prime Minister

Mr Harvey Knox presents to Prime Minister John Howard at Tomago, on Redbank Power Station Project resulting in $30 million of government investment into the region and work for many HunterNet Members.

Launch of a mentoring scheme and production of a capabilities directory.  Harvey fosters relationship with the Graduate School of Business of The University of Newcastle, providing members with access to management, leadership, marketing and communication training.

Global links were established, on a joint trade mission with Hunter Export Centre to Hong Kong, work was secured for Members on a large rail project.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr John McColl.

Change of Chairman


Chairman of the Board:  Mr Bob Cowan.

New Website & New Programmes


New Website & New Programmes

HunterNet’s website launched.

HunterNet funded a Software Engineering scholarship at The University of Newcastle.

“Model for Action” initiative reflecting new business thinking for manufacturing in the context of the knowledge economy and a state grant of $50,000 the following year funded an audit of capabilities in the region.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Bob Cowan.

Change of Chairman


Chairman of the Board:  Mr John Coyle.

HunterNet Loses its Charismatic Leader


HunterNet Loses its Charismatic Leader

(Image: Life Time Member, Mr John Coyle)

One of the greatest challenges for HunterNet was the loss of its charismatic leader, Mr Harvey Knox, in June 2001. In his memory, the “Opportunity Knox” scholarship scheme was established to support applicants in any area of endeavour to pursue their dreams and the Annual Harvey Knox Award.

Mr John Coyle, former Chairman of the HunterNet Board, took over the role of Manager in October 2001.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr John Coyle.

‘Make it in the Hunter’ Program


‘Make it in the Hunter’ Program

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Steven Smith.

‘Make it in the Hunter’ Hunter Economic Development Corporation, Commonwealth Regional Assistance Program & NSW Dept. of State & Regional Development.

Change of Chairman


Chairman of the Board:  Mr Phil Hird

Innovate the Hunter


Innovate the Hunter

(Image: John Coyle, Jeff Phillips, Tim Hardy, Joss De Iuliis, Bob Cowan & Keith Horan)

2005 -2007 ‘Innovate the Hunter’ NSW Dept. of State and Regional Development, Ausindustry & Commonwealth Regional Partnerships Program

In 2006 Chairman of the Board:  Mr Jeff Phillips

Strategic Skills Program


Chairman of the Board:  Mr Ken Brown.

‘Strategic Skills Program – Industry Partnerships’ NSW Deptartment of Education and Training, State Training Services

Commence Enterprise Connect


Commence Enterprise Connect

(Image:  Glenn Ellis & Nick Killin 2009 Chairman’s Awards)

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Nick Killin.

Commence Enterprise Connect ‘Workshops, Industry Intelligence & Networking (WIIN) Program (2009-2010)

Integration of the HunterTech Network


Integration of the HunterTech Network

(Image:  Research on Clusters / Networks, Professor Julia Connell, Curtin University)

Integration of the HunterTech Network.  HunterNet’s long term association with the HunterTech Network took a positive turn when the network joined forces with HunterNet in 2011. HunterTech’s decision that it was in their best interests to amalgamate with HunterNet has helped HunterNet members appreciate the importance of ICT in the transformation to smart manufacturing.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Nick Killin.

Celebrating 20 Years


Celebrating 20 Years

HunterNet Celebrates 20 Years of “the Power of Many

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Richard Eveleigh.

Commence Coal & Allied Local Coal Supply Chain Participation Project (2012-2015).

A Change of CEO


A Change of CEO

(Image: Mr Tony Cade, CEO, addresses Members at T W Woods General Members Meeting 2013)

John Coyle resigned from CEO role.

Tony Cade commences as CEO.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr Richard Eveleigh.

Commence AusIndustry Asian Century Business Engagement Plan project

New Chairman


New Chairman

(Image:Mr John Gambril chairs General Members Meeting Kenshaw Electrical 2014)

Commence NSW EPA BinTrim Project.

Chairman of the Board:  Mr John Gambrill.

Jeff Phillips Wins Harvey Knox Award


Chairman of the Board:  Mr Michael Sharpe.

Jeff Phillips, Varley, wins Harvey Knox Award.

Move to New Offices


HunterNet relocates to PKF, 755 Hunter St.