Forbes Shire Council elections are coming up on December 4 and the Advocate is profiling our candidates beginning with current councillors who are going to stand again. They'll be featured, in alphabetical order, over the coming week ...
A lot has happened in the past five years, and a lot more is in motion.
As a busy and extended first term draws to a close for Cr Steve Karatiana he's determined he'll put his hand up to stand at the next election on December 4.
Making Jenny Murphy Park a better place for families to gather and play is one of the achievements he's celebrating.
"It's absolutely been very progressive in the past five years," he said, with grant funding making so much possible.
"Improvements to the ski dam is something that we as a Council are proud of. It provides a safe recreation space for everyone to enjoy and it brings in visitors which boosts the local economy."
The Ninja Park and Lions Park are also highlights for Councillor Karaitiana.
"We know how important play is and our parks and playgrounds really are fantastic. The addition of the ninja park this year has seen locals and visitors testing out their ninja skills and having fun which is what it's all about. The close proximity to the skatepark has created a great precinct for kids and families."
"The current Council have worked hard to support the activation of Lions Park into a welcoming and inclusive space for recreation. The addition of new play equipment and a stage has been a highlight and will be a great space for community events well into the future."
But he's keen to continue in the role in future, with plenty more to do.
"We have got all the plans in place for a great future in Forbes," he said.
"What we need is major employment - what we've got around us with the mines and at Parkes (Special Activation Precinct) is great but we still need to be independent."
"I'd like to see three to four more fair-sized businesses here."
The availability of central west industrial park makes the relocation of industry very feasible: then we also need to ensure we have a workforce and places for those people to live.
Affordable housing is another issue on his radar: while it's not a council matter necessarily Cr Karaitiana believes everyone should play their part.
He's also looking forward to seeing the long-awaited development of Spooner Oval and the showground, and is also keen to see a covered area at the netball courts and equestrian precinct, "our swimming pool clubs need to share the facility's at our swimming pool also"
Tourism also needs to be a big focus as he'd expect domestic tourism to boom in coming months. "Council's support of the sculpture trail and how popular that is becoming is a great indication that things will only improve once we can welcome visitors again. This is a great example of the importance of working with our neighbouring Council's to create touring routes and itineraries for visitors."
With all this going on, Cr Karatiana would definitely urge more people to seriously consider standing for council.
"We need independent councillors who live, work and play here. People who can make independent decisions and vote on matters based on what they believe is best for our town." he said.
For those who are intimidated by the paperwork and processes, Cr Karaitiana provides assurance that council's staff are outstanding at providing advice and clarification.
"Listening to the community is extremely important, and listening to and working with the staff themselves goes hand in hand with this. We have hardworking staff who are open and willing to help councillors" he said.
"We need voices from the whole community."
Beyond that he believes having time, honesty and integrity are the key attributes a council candidate needs.
Learn more about standing as a candidate for local government through the Electoral Commission website.