Mayoral candidates profiles for 2021 Cessnock City Council election

THE CONTENDERS: Janet Murray (The Greens), Jay Suvaal (Labor), John Moores (Liberal) and Ian Olsen (Independent) are the mayoral candidates for the 2021 Cessnock City Council election.
THE CONTENDERS: Janet Murray (The Greens), Jay Suvaal (Labor), John Moores (Liberal) and Ian Olsen (Independent) are the mayoral candidates for the 2021 Cessnock City Council election.

The NSW local government elections will take place on Saturday, December 4.

The election was originally set down for September 2020, and has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four candidates are in the running to become the city's new leader following the retirement of mayor Bob Pynsent.

The Advertiser invited the mayoral candidates to submit a profile covering their reasons for running for mayor, their vision for the city of Cessnock, the most important issues facing Cessnock and what they would do to address these issues, and the attributes and experience that they will bring to the role.

Their responses are published in ballot paper order.


Janet Murray, The Greens

Janet Murray, The Greens

Janet Murray, The Greens

I've lived in the Cessnock LGA for 28 years and have fought against numerous undesirable developments in my area, eg landfilling Sydney's garbage here. Instead of supporting me, many Cessnock Councillors have made me feel like the enemy. I think it's time the community had an ally in council, who's going to ensure better outcomes for residents rather than developers.

Under my leadership, Cessnock will retain its rural charm and unique biodiversity, but be served by better roads and facilities and more local job opportunities in industries with a strong future.

The state of our roads is abysmal. We will hold a "Roads Summit" to analyse what's going wrong and develop a plan to lift the standard.

Facilities in new areas are lagging behind housing. We will require infrastructure to be put in place earlier in the process, including connections to the existing road network.

The number of very hot days is increasing. We will lead by example on climate action, increasing green cover and powering Council's operations by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

I am a chemical engineer who worked at Newcastle Steelworks for nearly 20 years. I managed blast furnace operations, including production, quality, costs and employees. I am accustomed to working cooperatively with a diverse group of people, making decisions based on data, to ensure continuous improvement of key outcomes. I will do the same on council.

Jay Suvaal, Labor

Jay Suvaal, Labor

Jay Suvaal, Labor

I have lived in the local community my whole life, growing up in Kearsley and now raising my family in West Cessnock. I know how important it is that we create more secure local jobs right here.

If elected Mayor, I will invest in improving our local road network. I will prioritise the Cessnock CBD Ring Road to ease traffic congestion on Wollombi Road. I will hold the RMS and developers to account to address the nightmare on Main Road, Heddon Greta. And I will work with our state and federal governments to try and secure even more funding for our roads so we can address our road maintenance backlog.

I will continue invest in improving more of our local parks and playgrounds right across our community. But the work doesn't stop there. We also need better and safer connections for people to walk and ride to these facilities. So I will build more shared pathways to link our towns and villages.

And I will always listen to local residents. With your support I will provide the generational change we need to make our community an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

John Moores, Liberal

John Moores, Liberal

John Moores, Liberal

I came to Cessnock 47 years ago from England. My first job in Cessnock was as a coal miner, and after 44 years I've just retired from the industry, of which my last role was general manager of mining.

In the time I've lived in Cessnock I have had several successful businesses in town, including Bellbird Mobil petrol station, Cessnock Car Detailing and Sound, and most recently More Clean Air. Also through my various businesses I've helped to find work for people in the coal mining industry throughout the Hunter Valley.

I want to be a role model for younger people in the town, as they are the next generation, and need someone they can aspire to be.

We need to rebuild Cessnock from the ground up, to the powerhouse of jobs and opportunity that it once was, to leave a legacy to our children that isn't bad roads and gutters.

Cessnock needs a change of direction that it's never had before, a Liberal change.

Ian Olsen, Independent

Ian Olsen, Independent

Ian Olsen, Independent

After 21-plus years as a Ward B councillor, I have the experience to lead our council through these tough times.

As a born-and-bred local I believe the Cessnock LGA is a great place to call home, raise a family and we need strong leadership and councillors who aren't scared to make the tough decision.

We have to think long term, not to the next election. We are passionate about our future and restoring pride in the community.

I believe it's the residents who should be in charge and we councillors are their elected representatives to achieve the improvements needed to make our community the best it can be.

Our current council has no control on prioritising road improvements, drainage upgrades, improving traffic flow or improving parking in our shopping centres to help our local businesses.

We have too much rework on roadworks, costing us on average over $1 million per year which could be used on other road projects. We haven't completed budgeted work for many years, which ends up costing us more money.

My team is passionate about positive change. We are not career politicians. Our agenda is about bringing pride back into the community.

We should all be proud to say we come from Cessnock LGA. Passionate people for positive change.