Nine new councillors elected to Cessnock City Council

The new Cessnock City Council will be made up of eight Labor councillors (including Mayor Bob Pynsent), three Liberals and two independents.

Independent councillor Allan Stapleford, who spent two years as deputy mayor in the previous term, was returned in ward A, alongside new councillors Mark Lyons (Labor) and Paul Dunn (Liberal).

While new to Cessnock Council, Mr Lyons served as a councillor on Hornsby Shire Council from 2004 to 2008.

Ian Olsen (independent) was elected to ward B for his fifth term, joined by Labor’s Jay Suvaal and Di Fitzgibbon.

Ward C has three new councillors – Melanie Dagg and Anne Sander (Labor) and John Fagg (Liberal).

Liberal councillor Rod Doherty was re-elected in ward D, alongside Labor’s Darrin Gray and Anthony Burke.

Cr Pynsent commended the councillors-elect on their commitment to the community.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the new councillors over the next four years to achieve for our community,” he said.

“It is a privilege to represent the people of Cessnock and we should all be very humbled to have this opportunity.

“It will also be good to have fresh faces in the chamber as we deal with the changing landscape of local government.”

The new council’s first meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 5.

STRONG SUPPORT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent will more than likely be re-elected after claiming 45 per cent of the first preference vote. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS

STRONG SUPPORT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent will more than likely be re-elected after claiming 45 per cent of the first preference vote. Picture: MAX MASON-HUBERS

2PM FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

The results of the 2016 Cessnock City Council election have been finalised.

The new council will be made up of eight Labor councillors (including Mayor Bob Pynsent), three Liberals and two independents.

The councillors-elect are as follows:

Mayor: Bob Pynsent (Labor)

Ward A: Mark Lyons (Labor), Paul Dunn (Liberal), Allan Stapleford (Independent)

Ward B: Jay Suvaal (Labor), Di Fitzgibbon (Labor), Ian Olsen (Independent)

Ward C: Melanie Dagg (Labor), Anne Sander (Labor), John Fagg (Liberal)

Ward D: Darrin Gray (Labor), Anthony Burke (Labor), Rod Doherty (Liberal)

3PM MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Not much has changed since Sunday’s count, with some pre-poll and postal votes still to be counted.

Labor’s Bob Pynsent has a clear lead in the mayoral race, with 13,314 first-preference votes (45.31 percent).

Liberal candidate Rod Doherty has 5,683 (19.34 percent), independent John Harvey has 4,454 (15.16 percent), independent  Ian Olsen has 3,315 (11.28 percent and the Greens’ James Ryan has 2,620 (8.92 percent).

Mr Ryan, who had served four terms as a councillor, only opted to run for mayor in this election.

The Greens ran candidates in all four wards but were not successful in securing a seat.

Cessnock Greens issued a statement on Monday saying they were disappointed with the result.

“Although the next Cessnock Council will not have a Greens representative, the Greens will remain a strong voice in the community and will be campaigning to re-enter council in four years time,” Ward D candidate Janet Murray said.

“(We) are challenging the new Labor-majority council to back projects such as the Cessnock Aquatic Centre and the Richmond Vale Rail Trail that are good for local families, local employment and also visitors and tourists.”

Ward A candidate Cathy Talley said she hopes the new council is more progressive and will bring a “new and invigorated vision for Cessnock”.

'We anticipate that the new Council will be transparent with their decision making, as well as environmentally and socially responsible,” Ms Talley said.

As of 2.30pm Monday, the ward counts were:

Ward A: Country Labor 35.23%, Liberals 25.04%, Independent (Stapleford) 18.13%, Independent (Hope) 11.16%, The Greens 10.44%.

Ward B: Country Labor 52.09%, Independent (Olsen) 26.01%, Liberals 20.16%, Greg Astill (The Greens – ungrouped) 1.74%.

Ward C: Country Labor 53.86%, Liberals 23.11%, Independent (Hedger) 15.19%, The Greens 7.83%.

Ward D: Country Labor 46.85%, Liberals 26.29%, Independent (Burston) 16.15%, The Greens 10.71%.

The distribution of preferences won’t start until after 6pm Monday (the deadline for postal votes).

2PM SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

Bob Pynsent looks certain to be re-elected for a second term as mayor of Cessnock and the Labor Party could have as many as seven councillors when the new council is formed.

Cr Pynsent said the Labor Party had fantastic support from the community.

“It’s absolutely brilliant to see that the community has supported the leadership I’ve shown over the past four years,” he said.

With as many as nine new councillors, Cr Pynsent said his first priority will be to make sure the new councillors are properly inducted and understand the processes of local government.

He said he will focus on making sure Cessnock City Council stands on its own, is financially sustainable, and works to meet the needs of the community.

He hopes the council can continue its good record of development application approvals, which he said helps to boost the local economy and create jobs.

As of 1.39pm Sunday, Cr Pynsent led the mayoral contest with 45.05 percent of the first-preference votes.

Liberal candidate Rod Doherty has 18.16%, independent John Harvey is on 15.58%, independent Ian Olsen has 12.1% and the Greens’ James Ryan has 9.12%.

Ward A is a close contest, with Labor holding 35.2% of the vote, followed by the Liberals on 24.81%, deputy mayor Allan Stapleford’s independent team on 18.3%, Veronica Hope’s independent team on 11.21% and The Greens on 10.49%.

At this stage, Labor’s Mark Lyons and the Liberals’ Paul Dunn look likely to be elected, and Cr Stapleford may be returned, but the ward’s make-up may come down to distribution of preferences, which won’t be counted after 6pm Monday (the deadline for postal votes).

Labor has 54.93% of the first-preference votes in Ward B, which is Cr Pynsent’s ward, meaning he will bring in number two running mate Jay Suvaal, and quite possibly their number three, Di Fitzgibbon.

Four-term independent councillor Ian Olsen should be re-elected in Ward B, with his team receiving 26.89% of the vote in Ward B. The Liberals have 15.91% and Greens candidate Greg Astill (ungrouped) has 2.27%.

Labor’s Ward C candidate Melanie Dagg will become the first Branxton resident to be elected to the council since 1988, and with Labor holding 54.22% of the votes in that ward, number two candidate Anne Sander, of Weston, could also secure a seat at the table.

The Liberals have 22.49% of the votes in Ward C, so their lead candidate John Fagg would also appear to have secured a seat. Stephen Hedger’s independent team has 15.34% and the Greens have 7.95%.

Labor has received 44.75% of the first-preference vote in Ward D, with lead candidate Darrin Gray to be elected, with the possibility of bringing in number two candidate Anthony Burke.

Liberal councillor Rod Doherty looks likely to return with his team receiving 27.07% of the vote in Ward D. Graham Burston’s independent team has 15.15% and the Greens have 13.03%.

Mr Burston may still be in with a chance, depending on the distribution of preferences.

Votes from the pre-poll centres are being added to last night’s count.

Postal votes are still to be counted.

The distribution of preferences will not start until after the deadline for receipt of postal votes (6pm Monday).

10.30AM SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

Here’s a recap of last night’s Cessnock City Council election results, as of 12.40am Sunday.

Labor’s Bob Pynsent looks certain to be re-elected for a second term as mayor with 44.8% of the first-preference vote.

Liberal candidate Rod Doherty has 19%, independent John Harvey is on 15.82%, the Greens’ James Ryan has 10.23% and independent Ian Olsen has 10.15%.

Ward A is a close contest, with Labor holding 33.97% of the vote, followed by the Liberals on 25.85%, Allan Stapleford’s independent team on 19.02%, The Greens on 12.32% and Veronica Hope’s independent team on 8.85%.

Labor has 54.95% of the first-preference votes in Ward B, which is Cr Pynsent’s ward, meaning he will bring in number two running mate Jay Suvaal, and quite possibly their number three, Di Fitzgibbon.

Four-term independent councillor Ian Olsen is likely to be re-elected in Ward B, with his team receiving 26.91% of the vote in Ward B. The Liberals have 15.85% and Greens candidate Greg Astill (ungrouped) has 2.28%.

Labor’s Ward C candidate Melanie Dagg will become the first Branxton resident to be elected to the council since 1988, and with Labor holding 52.85% of the votes in that ward, number two candidate Anne Sander, of Weston, could also secure a seat at the table.

The Liberals have 22.7% of the votes in Ward C, with Stephen Hedger’s independent team on 16.41% and the Greens on 8.04%.

Labor received 44.74% of the first-preference vote in Ward D, with lead candidate Darrin Gray to be elected, with the possibility of bringing in number two candidate Anthony Burke (depending on the preferential count).

Liberal councillor Rod Doherty looks likely to return with his team receiving 27.09% of the vote in Ward D. Graham Burston’s independent team has 15.16% and the Greens have 13.01%.

A check count of all councillor ballot papers will start at midday Sunday.

Pre-poll and postal votes are still to be counted.

The distribution of preferences will not start until after the deadline for receipt of postal votes (6pm Monday).

10.30PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent will almost certainly be re-elected after claiming 45 per cent of the first preference vote in Saturday’s local government election.

With almost half of the votes counted, Cr Pynsent held a convincing lead over Liberal candidate Rod Doherty (19%), independent John Harvey (15.82%), the Greens’ James Ryan (10.23%) and independent Ian Olsen (10.15%) by 10pm Saturday.

Cr Pynsent said the Labor Party was hopeful it would a couple of extra seats on the council, with two in Ward B, retaining its two seats in Ward C and possibly a second councillor in Ward D.

“We’ve had fantastic support from the community,” he said.

In Ward A, Country Labor had 33.25% of the first-preference votes, the Liberals had 27.74%, Allan Stapleford’s independents are on 17.23%, the Greens on 13.7% and Veronica Hope’s independents on 8.07%.

Labor leads the Ward B count with a massive 55.8%, followed by Ian Olsen’s independent team on 26.79%, the Liberals on 15.86% and Greens candidate Greg Astill (who was ungrouped) on 2.27%.

The Labor Party also had huge support in Ward C, with 52.87% of the votes counted so far, followed by the Liberals on 22.69%, then the Stepher Hedger-led independent team on 16.4%, and the Greens on 8.04%.

In Ward D, Labor leads the tally with 40.06% to the Liberals’ 29.71%, Graham Burston’s independent team on 17.43% and the Greens on 12.81%.

That wraps up our election coverage for tonight. Stay tuned to this page for more updates on Sunday.

8.57PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Results have started to flow in from Wards B and C.

In Ward B (Central and East Cessnock, Nulkaba, Aberdare and Kearsley), the Country Labor team (led by mayor Bob Pynsent) has taken the lead with 52.9 percent of the first-preference votes counted so far.

Ian Olsen’s independent group has 27.14% and the Liberals (led by Jacqui LaFrance) have 18.41%.

Labor also has a big lead in Ward C (Abermain, Weston, Greta and Branxton), with Melanie Dagg’s team on 51.36%, ahead of the John Fagg-led Liberal team on 28.98%.

Ward A is still a close contest with Labor holding 33.58% ahead of the Liberals on 26.74%, incumbent independent councillor Allan Stapleford’s team on 17.92%.

The Greens, led by Cathy Talley, have 13.8% of the vote in Ward A and independent candidate Veronica Hope’s team has 8.27%.

In Ward D, the Labor team has 44.98% of the votes counted so far; the Liberals have 25.93% and the independent team led by Graham Burston has 17.38%.

Bob Pynsent still leads the mayoral contest with 44.62% of the 14,000 votes counted so far. Rod Doherty is on 19%.

8.10PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Just over a quarter of the first-preference votes for mayor have now been counted, and Bob Pynsent is still in front with 44.95% of the votes.

Liberal candidate Rod Doherty sits second with 18.66%.

Counting has started in Ward A (West Cessnock to the Wollombi Valley and Pokolbin) with the Labor team (led by Mark Lyons) holding a slight lead over the Paul Dunn-led Liberal team (32.71% to 31.82%).

The Labor team (led by Darrin Gray) also leads the count in Ward D (Kurri Kurri, Heddon Greta, Buchanan and Mulbring), with 40.99% to the Rod Doherty-led Liberals’ 28.26%.

ELECTION DAY: The Cessnock West Public School polling booth on Saturday.

ELECTION DAY: The Cessnock West Public School polling booth on Saturday.

7.30PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Labor’s Bob Pynsent holds the lead in the mayoral race, with 40.8 percent of the the 4816 first-preference votes counted so far.

Rod Doherty (Liberal) is in second place on 18.96%, followed by John Harvey (independent) with 17.07%.

Greens candidate James Ryan has 11.69% and independent Ian Olsen has 11.48%.

7PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Just over 1000 first-preference votes for mayor have been counted, with incumbent Labor mayor Bob Pynsent leading the way with 29.19% of the vote.

Liberal candidate and current Ward D councillor Rod Doherty is in second place with 24.06%, followed by John Harvey (independent) on 21.59%, Greens candidate James Ryan with 17.93% and Ian Olsen (independent) with 7.23%.

Just over four per cent of the votes counted so far were deemed “informal or other”.

The Cessnock local government area has 40,000 voters.

6PM SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

The polling booths have closed and the first results are estimated to be available about 6.30pm.

Five candidates are in the running for mayor, and 49 candidates contested the 12 councillors’ seats across four wards.

Current mayor Bob Pynsent (Labor) is seeking a second term.

Councillors James Ryan (Greens), Rod Doherty (Liberal) and Ian Olsen (Independent) are looking to step up into the top job.

Local hotel owner and dentist John Harvey (Independent) is also running for mayor.

Stay tuned to this page for rolling coverage throughout the evening.

CONTENDERS: Mayoral candidates James Ryan (Greens), Rod Doherty (Liberal), Bob Pynsent (Labor), John Harvey (Independent) and Ian Olsen (Independent). Picture: SAGE SWINTON

CONTENDERS: Mayoral candidates James Ryan (Greens), Rod Doherty (Liberal), Bob Pynsent (Labor), John Harvey (Independent) and Ian Olsen (Independent). Picture: SAGE SWINTON

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