NEW Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said massive local jobs growth was essential if Penrith was to fulfil its vision of becoming a regional city.
Penrith Council elected Cr Fowler to replace the retiring mayor, Mark Davies, by eight votes to six for Jackie Greenow on Monday.
Jim Aitken was elected deputy mayor, also defeating Cr Greenow, eight votes to seven.
The new mayor said his focus for the next 12 months would be on maximising Penrith's economic opportunities.
"Too many residents cannot find work here and have to travel long distances every day," Cr Fowler said.
"We welcome the new transport infrastructure that will make employment opportunities more possible, but more is needed.
"The location of our city — at the foot of the Blue Mountains, with the Nepean River and our sporting facilities — is an asset.
"We are also a university town with a teaching hospital and a diverse and educated workforce."
Cr Fowler said the council should continue to develop Penrith's health-education precinct and make the region attractive for business and governments to invest in.
He also said that as mayor he would put Penrith's interests ahead of any other political consideration.
"I'm proud to say I'm a member of the Liberal Party, but first and foremost I'm the mayor of Penrith," Cr Fowler said.