The devastating drought which gripped Moree for most of last year, and still continues to plague the region, overshadowed much of what was a “miserable” 2018, according to Moree mayor Katrina Humphries as she reflects on the year that was.
“We need to acknowledge that it was a dreadful year with the drought,” she said.
“It was a very hard year. It was very difficult for businesses and staff, and farmers and graziers.
“But, on the upside, we got through it.
“We need to focus on the good and the positive and be ready for the rains when they do come.”
Drought aside, Cr Humphries said her biggest disappointment for the year was the political instability, particularly in the federal government, which resulted in yet another leadership spill and a new Prime Minister.
“The average people of Australia do not like political instability,” she said.
Closer to home, and Cr Humphries said there were sadly a number of deaths within the Moree community and families doing it tough last year, adding to the overall “miserable” year.
“There was a lot of misery and a lot of sadness in the community for one reason or another,” she said.
“But we need to look forward to the future. A new school year is about to start, we want our kids to go and do well it school. And when it rains, hopefully sooner, rather than later, we can celebrate and be relieved.”
Positively, the progress and development of Inland Rail is something to look forward to in 2019, with “a lot of stuff going on” in that area.
While Cr Humphries was tight-lipped about the latest developments, she hinted that good things are not far away.
“I believe it will be a big industry in our area that will also bring job creation through the construction period,” she said.
On a personal note, Cr Humphries was proud to be re-elected mayor – “to serve the community for another two years” – and to continue as chair of the Country Mayors Association of NSW, which she said creates opportunities to promote Moree.
However, the biggest highlight of all from 2018 came at the very end of the year, with the release of the latest quarterly crime statistics which revealed Moree has experienced a significant drop in crime across the board over the past five years.
“That was probably the highlight of the year,” Cr Humphries said.
“Having been bagged for poor results for many years, it’s a wonderful reflection on the work being done through policing and justice and the people who work behind the scenes.
“The new policing format has worked very well for Moree and the district.
“And, for the first time in years, all of our policing positions are filled, which makes for a much safer and happier community. The majority of us are law-abiding citizens and we want to feel safe.”