Raising the BARR – Week ending 19/01/2024

Raising the Barr


I am often amazed at how much of a reset the Christmas-New Year period can bring to our community. I certainly hope that your past month has offered you the chance to recharge the batteries and take stock.

No doubt some people will have been lucky enough to have some time off work and some may have even gotten away for a holiday. Meanwhile others will have worked through this period and kept our supermarkets, cafes, mines, hospitals and other businesses and services running.

I sincerely hope that whatever your past month has looked like that you are feeling something of a wider community buzz about the new year ahead and the opportunities that may bring.


There should be no questioning of the power of prediction when it comes to the Raising the Barr column. Let’s reflect back on a few things foretold in January last year.

First, we didn’t have the snow storm come through the Hunter that I had heralded. Sorry kids, but no free days off school to have snowball fights.

Second, we did have an election in March 2023 and the outcome was something quite unusual – a hung parliament for NSW (in which neither side holds an outright majority). This only happens once in every 20-30 years.

Third, I am not sure that the Voice campaign brought us together as a nation, which was what I had predicted. Sadly though, I did predict that there would be some pretty outrageous media commentary on the matter and I think, on that front, I got it exactly correct.

Fourth, I am very very happy to accept a successful prediction in terms of the Newcastle Knights women winning back-to-back premierships and I even predicted stronger support from the male Knights players which also came to pass.

And finally, the question of pumped hydro as a common sense and straight forward solution to our ability to store energy did not completely come to fruition, but there was more talk about this in 2023 including some Government incentives to partner with private companies to make this happen. So who knows, the crystal ball may predict something like this again in 2024.

I will be doing my crystal ball “reading” over the coming weeks. My next column will have some dead set certainties for the 2024 year. Enjoy!