NEWLY elected chairman of the NSW Country Mayors Association, Katrina Humphries, said local governments would have a big role to play this coming term.
Councillor Humphries was elected as the Chairman of the CMA on November 23, just after she was voted in for her ninth year as the mayor of Moree Plains Shire Council.
Councillor Humphries has been an active mayor since 2008, but her involvement in politics traces back to when she was a child, living in Garah NSW.
Her father, the late Wal Murray was heavily involved in politics, leading the national party at a state level and the Deputy premier from 1988 to 1993.
Growing up in the Garah region, Councillor Humphries said she has always been very passionate about all things “non urban”, which has enhanced her experience as a country town mayor.
Councillor Humphries said collaboration was going to be key in order to make her new role in the CMA NSW a successful one.
She said there was a great opportunity to bring rural, regional and coastal mayors together through the role to discuss prominent issues and solutions happening in our local towns.
“Because local mayors live in their districts, they’re always going to know what’s going on there,” she said.
“Local mayors have so much to offer a government that’s willing to work closely with us, which i’ll be encouraging in my new role.”
During her time as mayor of the Moree Shire Council, Councillor Humphries said it had been disappointing how productive small towns weren’t given the recognition they deserved or funding.
She said in her new role she would hope to encourage governments to look at broad based productivity funding as opposed to population funding to assist already productive communities.
“Better funding for these extremely productive communities would reflect with better roads, education, health and infrastructure for the bush,” she said.
“All of these areas are largely neglected in regional, rural and coastal areas and that needs to change.”
Transport was a key issue Councillor Humphries said she hoped to focus on during her time with the CMA NSW.
She said transport was one of the biggest issues across Australia, especially with producers not being able to move their produce easily or cheaply.
“The frustration and crost of producers getting their product to port is ongoing and needs to be addressed,” she said.
Councillor Humphries was thrilled to be announced as the chairman of CMA NSW and said she was very thankful to her family, friends, staff and the 13,000 people in her shire that have supported her political career.