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Meet Katrina Humphries and Mick Cikota – Group D in the upcoming MPSC local election

GroupD

Katrina Humphries

Katrina Humphries is the sitting mayor of Moree and has again put her hand up for re-election. She is 56 years of age and has been married to husband Gregg for 33 years. They have two adult children, Rob and Belinda and two grandchildren, Scarlett and Tyler.

For the last 22 years Katrina has been the owner-operator of Fishabout on Frome Street in Moree, employing seven team members.

Katrina and Gregg have lived in Moree for 35 years and prior to that Katrina grew up at Garah.

She is just completing her second term as mayor and says a major stand-out for council was finally conquering over the ratings agencies and international banks in relation to the loss of investments through the global financial crisis.

“We have been able to claw back quite a bit of the investments made prior to our coming into council in 2008. It has been a protracted process and all power to the dedicated financial team for their dogged determination,” she said.

How long have you sat as a councillor on MPSC, and what was your initial reason for standing as a candidate?

I have been a councillor with Moree Plains Shire Council for the past eight years, and mayor since 2008. My original reason for standing was that I have always believed in stumping up for committees, especially if you are dissatisfied with the running of same. After eight years it has become part of our lives.

What are the main reasons you are standing for council again?

I genuinely enjoy being involved with council and the dynamic team that has evolved over the last few years. Also, it would be great to be part of the council when we are not in drought, and perhaps the next few years will be reasonable weather-wise. Happy farmers and graziers make for happy business owners.

Are you standing alone or with a running mate(s)?

Mick Cikota is my running partner again, and Sue Price is our first choice in the next box.

What do you love most about Moree Plains Shire?

The people are the best thing about it. We are diverse, we are accepting, and I am comfortable with the familiarity that rural living creates.

What do you think the main issues are in Moree at the moment that need addressing?

Law and order, road maintenance, business confidence and keeping our population steady or improving are, I believe, some are the most pressing issues.

Do you think the current council is aiming in the right direction on various projects and/or issues?

I believe that we have done the best we could over the last four years, as they have been tough years all round. As for investment being spent as best as possible, I think we have done all right. Many of our local contractors have had the confidence to purchase new plant and equipment and our sporting facilities are pretty good, considering the lack of rain for the large part.

How can the current council improve on what it is doing at the moment? Is money being spent on the right projects and in the right areas?

There has been considerable government investment in Moree: the new Police Station, the amazing upgrade to Moree East Public School, the completion of the bypass, the completion of the solar farm which is now operational and the construction of the Moree Water Park which will be opened next month.

How do you think MPSC performed in the last term? What projects have been delivered and is it meeting targets?

The past council has been functional and progressive. There is a necessity to have a balance between maintenance and development and many issues have to been handled in parallel. I believe that we have done the best we could over the last four years, as they have been tough years all around.

What do you think have been MPSC’s biggest achievements in the past five years?

As for investment being spent as best as possible I think we have done all right. Many of our local contractors have had the confidence to purchase new plant. Council has also undertaken the overseeing of $40 million-plus of flood restoration work. Also achieving the declaration of being fit for the future was a huge undertaking. While frustrating it was a necessary part of the future.

Have there been any disappointments?

There are always disappointments and that is why my policy has always been not to make promises but to do my own/our best for community outcomes. The worst aspect of this last term of council was the dreadful, year-long fight and battle won over the airline services for our community. Unfortunately, the state government made a stupid decision and we were left to pick up the pieces. The other battle we had to win was over the township of Moree being used as a pilot for a cashless card system. If we had agreed to this we would have been the only town on the eastern seaboard to have this trial, and I believe it would have been debilitating all round.

What will be you main goals and targets with council if re-elected this year?

I would like to follow through with the Gateway Project, see the Moree Water Park fully functioning, get the Washpool and Byra causeways upgraded, and get as much road funding as possible. I would like to see the continuing stability that Moree Plains Shire Council has become known for. We are a team, not just of councillors and staff members but the whole community as well. I would also consider keeping the flow of investment in our community from both public and private contributions as a major objective.

What are you pastimes, hobbies or passions?

I love quizzes and number games. I used to be an avid gardener, but time does not permit for that at present. I am a granny so all things to do with grandkids has a special passion. Also, I love sport as well as the races, and a quirky little computer game called Zuma.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this questionnaire?

Myself and council are approachable and that is one of the most important dynamics of a community – talking to each other with dignity.  And 13,500 sets of eyes and ears always make the running of council more transparent and effective.

Mick Cikota

Mick Cikota is 43 years of age and married to Zelch. They have two children, George and Gina.

Mick and Zelch manage their own motel in east Moree, and have invested heavily in the shire by continually upgrading and expanding their business.

Mick has been an active member of the Moree Plains community since coming to the area in 1997. He has served on the board of Tourism Moree for eight years and has been a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee.

Mick’s priorities on council during his first term have been to improve infrastructure and push for industrial growth in the shire. He also strongly against coal seam gas mining.

“There have been some challenges during my first term on council and it hasn’t been a smooth ride, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it,” Mick said.

How long have you sat as a councillor on MPSC, and what was your initial reason for standing as a candidate?

I have been on council for one term. The main reason that I ran for council was to see the town move ahead, to build on all the aspects that make it a great town to live in and bring up a family.

Also, I want to make Moree a more attractive place to visit.

What are the main reasons you are standing for council again?

To continue to try and grow the town and work with the community with any issues they may have.  Crime, roads, retaining a stable public transport system – in particular our airline service – are key issues.

Are you standing alone or with a running mate(s)?

I am running with Katrina Humphries.

What do you love most about Moree Plains Shire?

I love the people and the family-friendly lifestyle.

What do you think the main issues are in Moree at the moment that need addressing?

In no particular order, I believe crime, trying to attract new business, grain harvest management scheme, protecting our water from coal seam gas and securing funding from MDBA for local enterprise.

Do you think the current council is aiming in the right direction on various projects and/or issues? Yes. However, there will always be more work to be done. In some cases, council is held back by state and federal restrictions, which makes it difficult and frustrating as it seems that council is going nowhere.

How can the current council improve on what it is doing at the moment? Is money being spent on the right projects and in the right areas?

With such a large shire and limited funding, it will always be tough to choose where money will be spent. For the most part, I believe money is going to the right projects, but there is always room for improvement.

How do you think MPSC performed in the last term? What projects have been delivered and is it meeting targets?

Major upgrades to the shire’s roads, the Moree Solar Farm and the Moree Water Park have been successful projects for council.

What do you have been MPSC’s biggest achievements in the past five years?

The completion of the Moree Water Park, the initial stage of the Gateway, upgrades to the roads and being deemed as “Fit for the future”. New businesses are being attracted to town as well, and securing funding to see the South Moree project get underway has been a big plus.

Have there been any disappointments?

Yes, there have been a few. The main one for me is not seeing the redevelopment of the memorial hall in to an amazing entertainment venue for the entire shire, young and old.

What will be you main goals and targets with council if re-elected this year?

I will keep pushing to see that the memorial hall gets the redevelopment it needs, make sure that coal seam gas mining is kept away to protect our water, try and attract new business to town, work with the appropriate authorities to minimize crime and continue to pursue securing Moree as an intermodal logistics hub for the inland rail project.

What are you pastimes, hobbies or passions?

I love travelling, trying different type of foods and connecting with different people and watching the rugby.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn’t been covered in this questionnaire?

I would like to thank the community for having the trust in me as a councillor for the past four years and, most importantly, I will listen to the community’s voice so we can work together and make Moree Plains Shire Council the best it can be.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions published herein are those of the individual Moree Plains Shire Council election candidates.

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