After nine years as an elected councillor on Cessnock City Council, with a stated desire to see economic reform happen and jobs growth take Cessnock from one of the lowest socio- economic status (SEIFA index) in Australia to one of the best, it has taken us nowhere.
My dreams of seeing an economic recovery for Cessnock have been dashed.
Cessnock was one of the wealthiest coal producing areas in Australia and we are now witnessing the closure of the last remaining underground mines at Donaldson/Abel-Tasman and Yancoal's Austar mine at Paxton gone, leaving the community with only one open-cut mine at Buchanan still operating.
We also witnessed the closure of the Hydro Aluminium smelter at Kurri Kurri in 2014, leaving an economic hole of some $50 million in wages to the Cessnock area and hundreds unemployed.
We don't lack the potential for jobs growth as our residential block sales attest but we need to get industrial land up and trading.
The redevelopment of the Hydro smelter site and Black Hill industrial parks need to be fast tracked to create employment opportunities.
As I see it, all that the Cessnock local government area is becoming at present is a satellite residential suburb of Newcastle and the wider Hunter areas.
There is little in the way of serious planning approvals being undertaken for industry and jobs attraction.
I would hope that in the short term the link roads from the Hunter Expressway get the upgrades they deserve and that the Hydro and Black Hill industrial sites get approved and we see job-creating enterprises in the area.
I feel that Cessnock Council is more interested in social engineering and community issues than hard-core economic reform, and if it doesn't change its attitude to economic development, economic inertia will continue to plague Cessnock into the future.
I would like to personally thank all those people in Ward D who had faith in me to represent your interests and concerns over the past nine years.
Every 10 minutes an Australian suffers a heart attack. Sadly, many do not survive with 48 Australians dying every single day from heart disease - someone's family member, wife, husband, or special friend that means the world to them.
Given that heart disease is our biggest killer, it would be impossible for all Australian communities to not be impacted in some way.
The simple fact is that there is still so much for us to learn about heart disease and research saves lives.
Heart Research Australia aims to reduce the devastating impact heart disease has on families and the community by supporting world-class and emerging researchers to conduct ground-breaking research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
That's why this February we invite all Australians to get involved with REDFEB, heart health awareness month, to raise much-needed funds for ground-breaking research into heart disease.
Getting involved is as simple as wearing red and donating to Heart Research Australia during the month of February. For more information or to donate, please visit www.heartresearch.com.au
On behalf of the thousands of Australians impacted by heart disease every year, thank you for your support.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.