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Moree-Sydney Air Service Regulation

Following Council meeting and Town Hall Meeting concerning the Moree-Sydney Air Service route, Mayor Humphries was interviewed on radio today on ABC New England North West’s Breakfast program. The Hon Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure was also interviewed.

The full radio interview is available through Facebook, on the pages of both ABC New England Northwest and Moree Plains Shire Council.

Mayor Katrina Humphries is appalled at the contempt expressed by Minister Constance towards Moree Plains community members, Council and her personally in relation to this issue.

"I don't understand the problem in Moree, quite frankly," Minister Constance said. "I think the Council for whatever reason are not, I think, projecting the truth behind the effects of the regulation. "The bottom line is it doesn't stop an airline walking away. I challenge the Mayor to prove to me how the regulation stops a regional airline from walking away from the route. The fact is it doesn't."

The Federal Government was also in the firing line with Mr Constance commenting, "National Party members of [Federal] Parliament like Barnaby Joyce are not doing the right thing by country New South Wales by opening up more slots specifically and uniquely for regional airlines to fly into Kingsford Smith”.

For Mayor Humphries, Minister Constance’s position perfectly sums up just how out of touch certain members of the Liberal State Government are when it comes to rural communities and the issues faced by them.

Mayor Humphries is the current chair of Country Mayors New South Wales, has been Mayor of Moree Plains Shire Council for the last nine years and has held one of the largest primary percentage votes of any local government councillor across NSW for three consecutive electoral cycles.

“I think my track record shows that my community and my peers across country NSW support me and believe I understand the issues in the bush.

“I am absolutely mortified by the views expressed by Minister Constance this morning. The State Government asked Council to engage with our community on this issue. And now, when they don’t like the answer, apparently we don’t know what’s good for us.“

While I am offended at his comments of our Council, and in particular me as to ‘not telling our community the truth’, I am alarmed that a State Minister can make such bizarre claims as to the success of deregulation. Mudgee, Cobar, Cooma and Narrabri were cited as such examples - I ask the rural taxpayers of NSW to do their own homework on the services delivered to these communities once deregulated,” said Mayor Humphries.

When asked Mayor Humphries said that "she did not require or was even interested in an apology from Minister Constance, as it would be meaningless and the amazingly proud Moree Plains community and its neighbours would deal with this matter in a way that we know best – United"