John Turner was born and raised in the Hunter Valley.
He established a number of small businesses in Cessnock and a law firm, practising in East Maitland, Cessnock, Medowie and, for a time, in Singleton. He was elected to the Greater Cessnock City Council in 1980 and served two terms and a period as deputy mayor.
In 1988, John was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly as the Member for Myall Lakes. During the time in this position, he was Deputy Speaker of the NSW Parliament, chair and member of many parliamentary committees and was a shadow minister in twelve portfolio areas, including Hunter Development, Mineral Resources and Roads.
Following his retirement from the NSW Parliament in 2011, John was appointed as Chairman of the NSW Local Government Acts Taskforce, assigned to rewrite the Local Government Act. He has also been a member of the Regional Intermodal Terminal Taskforce and was the Administrator of Midcoast Council.
John was appointed Chair of Regional Development Australia Hunter in April 2018. He was previously Deputy Chair of the organisation.
John has a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Literature and a Diploma of Law