Fostering opportunities for growing communities, uniting communities and focusing on the cost of living crisis were key themes in the acceptance speech of Hume City’s newest Mayor.
Councillor Naim Kurt of the Meadow Valley Ward was elected by Council colleagues at a Statutory Council Meeting on Wednesday 1 November 2023, while Cr Karen Sherry of the Meadow Valley Ward will remain as Deputy Mayor for a second straight year.
Cr Kurt’s appointment as Mayor follows a stint as Deputy Mayor for Hume City across the 2018/2019 term. The terms for both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be capped at 12 months, concluding in October 2024 in readiness for the 2024 Council election.
Cr Kurt discussed his family's deep roots in Hume City over almost 50 years and how their experience as Bulgarian Turks facing political persecution had fuelled his interest in politics and improving the local community.
It will also underpin the objectives of his Mayoral term, with Cr Kurt declaring that enhancing community pride, liveability and making all feel welcome will be key objectives over the next 12 months, by avoiding a one size fits all approach to communities in Hume.
Cr Kurt spoke to the importance of Council’s Social Justice Charter that has come out of Hume’s Citizen’s Bill of Rights - and the responsibility for Council to champion genuine access, inclusion and fairness for all residents.
Looking to the year ahead, Cr Kurt outlined several key priorities they intend to work on, including:
- Delivering $128.3 million of new community facilities, roads, footpaths, parks and reserves.
- Continued investment in state-backed services, particularly in Hume’s northern growth areas of Kalkallo, Mickleham and Craigieburn.
- The revitalisation of Sunbury with a view to create an Arts and Culture Precinct at Jacksons Hill.
- Working in an historic partnership with neighbouring councils to facilitate the creation of a centralised Metropolitan Activity Centre to unite Hume’s northern communities.
- Upgrading Hume's established facilities including transforming the Broadmeadows' Hume Central precinct into a dynamic town centre for work, learning, and community connection.
Cr Kurt looks forward to closing out 2023 by bringing the community together throughout the busy holiday season, which will include the annual Hume Carols by Candlelight and other Christmas in Hume celebrations.
Cr Kurt thanked outgoing Mayor Cr Joseph Haweil and Deputy Mayor Cr Karen Sherry for leaving a legacy of strong leadership in a time of growth for Hume at the conclusion of their 12 month term.
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Hume City, Cr Naim Kurt:
“Enhancing livability for all Hume residents will be a key objective of mine as Mayor, and I want to make sure everyone feels welcome and proud of the unique part of where they live.
“Being Mayor is not something that happens on its own. I want to thank my councillor colleagues for their support, and I look forward to sharing this responsibility with them over the next 12 months.
“Throughout my term, I plan to lead our Council with good governance, with local people at the forefront of every decision made, and ensuring those most in need are not left behind.”
Quotes attributable to Deputy Mayor of Hume City, Cr Karen Sherry:
“Congratulations to Councillor Kurt, I look forward to working with him this year.
“I’m particularly looking forward to more urban planning, and stamping Broadmeadows as a Metropolitan Activity Centre, preventing it from it lagging behind other bustling activity centres in Melbourne.
“I’m excited to be part of the fantastic work we will do this year, and I thank my fellow councillors for the opportunity to be part of guiding this council team for our final council term.”