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  • intouch Magazine

Nuatali Nelmes Marks Milestone Nine Years as Lord Mayor

Lord Mayor and Councillors.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has become one of Newcastle's longest serving Lord Mayors, officially reaching nine years in the role today. 


Cr Nelmes was elected Lord Mayor on 15 November 2014, having previously served six years as a Ward Three councillor, and is now the fourth longest-serving Lord Mayor, surpassing the tenure of former Lord Mayors John McNaughton, Joy Cummings and Greg Heys. 

Frank Purdue (10 years), Douglas McDougall (10 years) and John Tate (13 years) are the only people to have served longer in the role of Lord Mayor, with Purdue and McDougall serving non-consecutive terms, and elected by other Councillors, rather than the community. 

Cr Nelmes noted the significant transformation in Newcastle during her term as Lord Mayor.

“I want to thank the people of Newcastle, who have repeatedly supported our Council to show leadership and take tough decisions to deliver the change our city has needed,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“Residents want to see progressive reforms and we are seeing the positive results across the city." 

Cr Nelmes thanked her colleagues who have strongly supported her in the role. 

“Leading the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps the most challenging period of my time in office, but City of Newcastle delivered a stimulus program that helped protect local jobs and supported the region through that difficult time," Cr Nelmes said.

“This record of delivery has only been possible because of tough decisions that have made the City of Newcastle financially sustainable with successive budget surpluses.

“We will continue to focus on attracting more investment to our city to support jobs and deliver the services our residents deserve."

Key achievements of City of Newcastle during the past nine years include:


  • More than doubling capital spending to reduce the infrastructure backlog, and upgrading amenity and liveability across the city

  • Delivering city-shaping projects including the iconic Bathers Way coastal walk, Wallsend flood mitigation works and rejuvenation of Hunter Street Mall

  • Funding Local Centre upgrades in Carrington, Beresfield, Shortland, Kotara, Merewether, Stockton and New Lambton, with more to come

  • Addressing Stockton erosion with the state's first certified Coastal Management Program (CMP), which has led to amenity sand nourishment through offshore dredge rainbowing

  • Building dozens of new playgrounds, including regional-scale playgrounds at Stockton, Blackbutt Reserve and Wallsend

  • Delivering a once-in-100-year renewal of Newcastle Ocean Baths

  • Opening new or upgraded fenced off-leash dog parks in North Lambton, Islington and Maryland


  • Becoming the first council in NSW to use 100 per cent renewables, including a 5MW publicly-owned solar farm

  • Significantly expanding City of Newcastle's street tree planting program and implemented a verge garden program

  • Becoming the only council in the region to have a soft plastic recyclable program

  • Protecting Blackbutt Reserve from proposed subdivision and sale

  • Rolling out public electric vehicle (EV) chargers and expanded cycleway networks

  • Advocating for off-shore wind, the diversification of the Port of Newcastle and the creation of new clean energy jobs and industry


  • Attracting new national and international events to the city

  • Starting construction on the long-discussed Newcastle Art Gallery expansion

  • Launching City of Newcastle's very own New Annual cultural festival to support local artists

  • Expanding public art and large-scale street murals throughout the city 

  • Supporting live music reforms to protect local performers, while implementing a live music grant scheme to support local artists

  • Upgrading local sporting facilities and investment in community sport.


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