2023 Christmas message from Mayor Ryan Palmer

20 December 2023

Over the past 6 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be Mayor of Port Stephens. Although tough at times, I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to lead our Council and work closely with a very dedicated and passionate group of people.

This time of year is usually about reflection on the past 12 months. It’s very easy to underestimate the work that our Council delivers. I know before I was elected to Council, I really only had a small inkling of the size and scale of the projects and services Council provided. From our libraries, waste, roads, parks and sports grounds to events, business support, childcare, emergency services and planning – Port Stephens Council is a large and complex organisation.

The past year, with our new Council in place, we’ve worked hard to make sure the services we deliver are aligned with the community’s needs. We’ve sharpened our focus and rebuilt the strength in our foundations.

It’s these strong foundations that have enabled us to withstand several years of lockdowns and natural disasters and again, achieve so much in a year including repairing 59,000+ potholes, planting 5,664 trees with the help of volunteers, rolling out 32,000 new garden organics waste bins and securing funding for the repair and rehabilitation of our local roads,

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone so quickly, and now we're already planning for Christmas and looking forward to the new year. This summer is shaping up to be a great one, with the It's On! program packed with events all across the community, thanks to various grants and funding programs. One of the highlights will again be the New Year's Eve fireworks display at Nelson Bay to ring in 2024.

I hope you get an opportunity to stop, rest, reflect, and pay attention to what’s most important in life.

On behalf of Council employees and my Councillor colleagues, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.