Councillor profiles - Ryan Palmer Mayor Port Stephens Council

Article image - Councillor profiles - Ryan Palmer Mayor Port Stephens Council

Port Stephens is an amazing place and a place I’ve lived all my life. We have the largest shifting sand dunes in the southern hemisphere, we are on the ‘whale highway’, home to resident dolphins and turtles, have some of the oldest properties in Australia, beautiful national parks and are the home of the RAAF’s new F-35 Fight Jet. What more could you want!

In Port Stephens, there is always a new place to discover. This may be our amazing rural areas, our stunning beaches, our breathtaking national parks or our spectacular Worimi Conseveration Land. Throughout COVID-19, I believed there was no better place to live, with so many new places to discover.

I was elected in 2017, as Port Stephens second popularly elected mayor and the youngest in history. As a born and bred local, it is my honour to represent the people
of Port Stephens. 

Vision becomes reality
Our communities are always keen to see a vision of our future become a reality and that’s why I became involved in local government. 

It has always been important to me to deliver in whatever role I have had and that’s exactly what I set out to achieve for Port Stephens. With two young children myself, it is important to me that we aren’t just planning for now but for many years
to come.

Working for a family business has been great, enabling me to be flexible enough to commit to my role as Mayor. I’m extremely fortunate that I’m able to do this, as I believe it is important to be as involved as you can be as a councillor.

My wife, Jessica and I have two amazing children, Bella who’s nine and Knox who's six, who keep us extremely busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Personally, I enjoy all sports and often you’ll find me on the golf course or tennis court.

Finances and resources are always critical to all councils. Our communities expect more from us, as do State and Federal governments, and this is to be achieved with less and less. Whilst we are still able to deliver great services to our communities, there will come a time, in the not to distant future when local government won’t be able to do it all without some serious changes.

Invested in tourism
Port Stephens is an area heavily invested in the tourism space and Council recently opened a $10 million Koala Sanctuary in partnership with a local volunteer group Port Stephens Koalas. We are also in the design phase for a recently funded $7.5 million Tourism Interchange at Birubi Beach. We foresee investments like this will help our local environment, our local tourism industry and help invest back into our local communities.

Since being elected in 2017, it has been pleasing for me to see a record amount of community engagement conducted by Port Stephens Council. Our people want to be involved and we have been able to engage them more regularly and in larger numbers. It is extremely important for myself and my fellow councillors to have the feedback to be able to make informed decisions for our future.

Variety and diversity
For me the best part about being Mayor is being able to see the wide variety of activity that is happening right across our area. I am constantly amazed at the diversity of the area. From the arrival of the most advanced fighter jets to Port Stephens to the birth of koalas, it is incredible.

Decisions always need to be made and I certainly acknowledge that, but when you can see both sides, that can make it quite difficult. The art of compromise is something
I learnt very quickly!

My goal is that off the back of COVID-19, Port Stephens will continue to thrive as a local community. We have seen a strong coming together
of people and really sharp bounce back of our local economy. This is very exciting to see as mayor and I will continue to work with our communities to make sure we are stronger for it.