Cr Stuart James lives in Oakleigh and is married with three daughters. He was first elected in 2016 to represent Oakleigh Ward, serving as Deputy Mayor in his first year on council. In November 2019, Stuart was elected as the 17th Mayor of the City of Monash, leading council through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stuart is a member of the following committees and other bodies of Council:

Stuart represents Council on the following external bodies:

Background

Stuart’s grandparents on his mother’s side both came from working class families that worked on the railways. Following service in Borneo in WW2 his grandfather completed a university degree at WA university while working for Commercial Union Insurance Company. In 1953 he was offered a promotion to work in Melbourne and eventually rose to the position of CFO. On his father’s side, Stuart’s grandfather was the youngest of 14 children and came to Australia alone on a boat at the age of 15 initially working as an apprentice in shoe manufacturing and after enduring unemployment during the Great Depression spending the remainder of his working life with the Melbourne Tramways Board. Stuart’s grandmother left school at 14 and worked in sandwich shops. Lifelong residents of working-class Preston, they dedicated and spent their entire lives working hard to provide a better opportunity for their children. Despite limited access to quality education, Stuart’s father won State Government scholarships in years eight and ten at secondary school and a Commonwealth scholarship to University. This enabled his father to achieve his full potential in the corporate world, rising to the position of second in charge of the economics department at one of Australia’s top four banks.

The combination of educational opportunity for all and hard work as exhibited by both sides of Stuart’s family have been guiding principles for his own life, and his values and beliefs have been shaped by this family history.  He has a deep sense of family commitment and hard work and has a great admiration and respect for those who have come from less fortunate backgrounds. He understands that what makes and sustains Australia as a great country is that it provides equal opportunity to all residents, regardless of their economic, political, or religious status.

Stuart completed his VCE at Carey Baptist Grammar, has a Bachelor of Information Management from Monash University and has worked in the IT Industry for almost 20 years. Stuart is a success-orientated IT professional with broad industry knowledge, performing leading roles in various national organisations. He is known as an accomplished leader with effective communication and people management skills, driving innovation and strategic business direction. Stuart manages more than 100 different corporate networks Australia wide and has an in-depth understanding of the underlying network infrastructure that is critical to business. He has an extensive knowledge of a myriad of different programming languages and databases and has developed leading-edge software solutions for both corporate and community use.

Stuart has an extensive involvement in sporting organisations. He served six years as the President of the Eastern Districts Pool League and has been the President of the South Eastern Pool League since 2003. He is the co-founder the Village Green Pool Club in Notting Hill and has served as its President, Vice President and is currently the Secretary. He is a former Chairman of a Body Corporate and sat on the board for almost ten years. Stuart has also served stints on the disciplinary committee for the Melbourne Cricket Club.

Stuart is very passionate about the Arts and, in particular, the theatre. He spent many years running lighting desks in theatrical productions and also studied theatre during his IT Degree. Stuart still attends a variety of different Senior School Musicals, local theatre productions, and often attends various MTC productions throughout the calendar year.

Key achievements and focus

Stuart’s main focus on council has been on improving services for local families.

When his youngest daughter was born, Stuart’s wife was informed that mothers groups were only available for first time mothers. Stuck at home with a two-year-old and a newborn, she experienced deep social isolation. In response, Stuart worked closely with officers to develop a new playgroup concept in Cabena Cresent in Chadstone, for parents and carers to bring children together while their parents socialise. The centre also provides specialist services to assist with mental health issues including anxiety and depression. The overwhelming success has seen a second centre opened in Glen Waverley with a third one opening in 2021 in Mulgrave. Stuart has expressed a desire to have a fourth one opened in the Ashwood area.

Stuart has also focused heavily on building and redeveloping playgrounds. This has resulted in a brand new park in Samada Street, Notting Hill, along with redevelopments to Galbally Reserve, Melissa Street, Evelyn Street, Catherine Avenue and Davies Reserve during his first term on council.

Over the past few years, Stuart has been working towards developing a community hub concept in Oakleigh as a one-stop shop for council services. A feasibility study is currently underway to assess council services in the area.

In 2018, council revisited an old plan to revitalise the immediate area around both sides of Oakleigh Station. This was put on hold due to the redevelopment of the station itself by the State Government, however Stuart is keen to see this plan progress over the next four years.

Precinct plans for Clayton and Huntingdale were recently completed on the back of Stuart’s budget bids and he is keen to progress these to implementation stage.

Stuart is a proud local resident and believes that Monash is the perfect place to raise his young family. He believes that community consultation and working closely with residents is the best way to ensure that Monash remains the best place to work, live and play. He encourages people to get in touch should they have any ideas, suggestions or concerns.

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