Bob Pynsent of Cessnock looks back on two decades of local government: “It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it” | Newcastle Herald

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This week marks the end of my last term as Councilor of Cessnock, Mayor of Cessnock and President of the Hunter Joint Organization. I have immensely enjoyed my time serving the communities of Cessnock and the Hunter area. As I reflect, I am in awe of the transformation of our region since starting my career in local government and I am excited about what the future holds. I was first elected to Cessnock City Council in 1999, the year BHP closed in Newcastle. This important event was both symbolic and transformative for the entire region and its economy. The closure of BHP not only reshaped our industrial landscape, it strengthened the interdependence of the people and places of Hunter. My experience working with other councils, through the Hunter Joint Organization, has demonstrated how the impact of important events – whether economic, social or environmental – is never limited to a single area of ​​the world. local government. The closure of BHP sent ripples through the valley and along the coast. The recent natural disasters experienced by our Mid Coast neighbors, or the economic challenges facing mining and energy communities throughout the Hunter, are also being felt in the metropolitan core of Hunter. This connection across the region is not a weakness – it is a strength. Many saw the closure of the steel mill as the end of an era. It marked the beginning of a significant economic decline for our region. What I saw during my tenure in local government is a region that can evolve and innovate to attract and develop opportunities. It is a region capable of reshaping its identity and taking advantage of its strengths while retaining its recognized habitability. We are resilient and resourceful, and our future is bright. My last term as Mayor of Cessnock and President of the Hunter Joint Organization was marked by the continuation of the pandemic, natural disasters and the changing world energy economy. These experiences galvanized collaboration between communities and councils and served to strengthen these relationships. It ushered in a new era of collaborative local government leadership as we together seek to reshape the region. Working with elected leaders, industry and the community, I have seen this new collaborative way of working emerge as an effective platform to transform the Hunter of tomorrow and take advantage of the many opportunities available to us. These new opportunities will see this growth continue through the area of ​​renewable energies, royalties for the rejuvenation and expansion of innovative and emerging industries. We have seen people move to the area for the lifestyle offered, but also because of the continuing impact of the pandemic. The region offers more and more opportunities for international connectivity, economic diversification and the development of a circular economy. Greater Newcastle has also become a true second city after Sydney, and it will be important for local councils to take advantage of this through the Hunter Joint Organization to ensure that local decisions remain with the local people. Seeing our region adapt and change, while remaining united with one voice, testifies to the Hunter’s spirit of collaboration and community. As we still live in an unprecedented historic period, I have no doubts that the future of the Hunter – and its communities: Cessnock, Dungog, Upper Hunter, MidCoast, Maitland, Newcastle, Muswellbrook, Lake Macquarie, Singleton and Port Stephens – will be positive. It has been an honor to be Mayor of Cessnock and President of the Hunter Joint Organization, and to serve my community in Cessnock, as well as the wider region. It hasn’t always been easy – but it has always been worth it. Finally, I am delighted to be able to take advantage of our region as a retiree, to see new opportunities come true through the Hunter for our diverse and growing communities, and I am grateful to the large group of Councilors and Mayors that I had the pleasure of serving. with during my 22 years on the board. I’m excited to see what this new group of advisors will bring. IN THE NEWS: Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content: