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Mayoral Minutes

We're making community consultation easier than ever

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Governments are often accused of being slow to react and behind-the-times, and in some regards there are logical reasons for governments not to be at the bleeding edge of whatever might be occurring in society. There is no doubt in my mind though that this current Council is very keen to ensure that we are progressive and proactive and often leading the way – which reflects our general community. Take the idea of community consultation for example. Before my time as Mayor, Council started an unprecedented community consultation program called Dubbo 2036. In all there were over 8,000 ‘touches’ with our community and the result – our Community Strategic Plan – is a reflection of how engaged our community was during that program. There have been many submissions and community consultations that have followed and this Council is very keen to hear what the residents of our City think. Read More...

Another announcement about the second high-level bridge at Dubbo

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Most people are aware of the fantastic election promise in relation to the duplication of the LH Ford Bridge. The State Government promised $50 million to build this second bridge to help with the congestion that we experience in peak morning and evening times. The initial concept plans were presented to Council in April 2012 and in July 2012 Council formally resolved to actively lobby the State and Commonwealth Governments to fund the duplication of the bridge. The existing bridge was officially opened on 26 September 1969 when our population was ~18,000. The bridge was designed for peak capacity of 1,200 vehicles per hour per lane and we are regularly hitting 1,100 vehicles per hour in peak times. Our population has increased by 130 per cent and there are over 20,000 vehicles a day utilising the bridge. After the new Council was elected, Council further resolved, in October 2012, to continue the lobbying efforts. Read More...

International-standard centre upgrade and championship-qualifying athletes double - coincidence?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I was recently asked if the upgraded facility at Barden Park would make any difference to our local athletes. There are so many positives from this international standard track that it is difficult to know where to start but one statistic jumped out at me immediately. The new facility was only opened on 29 November last year which was well and truly into the current Little Athletics season. For athletes to qualify for State Championships they must qualify via Zone Championships and then Regional Championships. The pinnacle for Little Athletes across the State is to make it to State Championships which are held at Sydney Olympic Park on the second last weekend in March each year. This weekend is the 2015 version of the State Championships and Dubbo has 24 athletes that have qualified for State Championships. Anecdotally, this is double the number of athletes that sometimes qualify and the highest number that anyone involved with local athletics can remember ever qualifying. Read More...

The imperfections of democracy and hazards of decision-making

Friday, March 13, 2015

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time. There is no doubt in my mind that democracy isn’t perfect and one area where potential hazards exist is in the area of decision-making. Read More...

Horror night, Inland Forum, Senior Citizens make for a busy week

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If you are superstitious and believe in ‘bad luck’ then this isn’t a great time for you. It is rare to have consecutive months with a Friday falling on the 13th. The first Friday the 13th needs to be in February and the year needs to be a non-leap year. This year sees just such an occurrence – which we won’t see again until the year 2026. To cater to those people who take note of such days, the Old Dubbo Gaol is holding a horror night this Friday with a showing of the movie, The Conjuring. With eight men executed from 1877 to 1905 and some believed to be buried on the grounds, there are many who are convinced that their ghosts wander the cells of the prison. This is not a night for the faint-hearted but if you feel up to the challenge, we welcome you to our scary movie night. Read More...

A definite shift in the way Council carries out its business

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I have been a Councillor on Dubbo City Council just short of 4,000 days and I have witnessed significant change in that period. Some are dramatic physical changes in infrastructure (think Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre and Barden Park) while other changes are more subtle, such as our community’s perception of Council and Councillors (our Community Needs surveys have shown dramatic improvements in recent years in the public’s perception of Council). There is one area though where I have seen a definite shift in the way Council carries out its business.

That is in the area of community consultation and engagement.

There was already a change in the air but when the Dubbo 2036 process started (under Mayor Allan Smith) there was a paradigm shift in the way we engaged with our community. Fast forward four years, and I believe we are actively engaged with our community on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean we are perfect – but I would put us firmly in the top five per cent of Councils across the State. I believe it stems from a genuine belief from Council – and Councillors – that we want to hear what residents think. It doesn’t mean we will agree with every resident on every issue (there are often opinions brought forward that are mutually exclusive) but we certainly welcome feedback. In the last month we have had our triannual Community Leaders’ Forum and our quarterly Mayoral Development Forum. Two great opportunities for Councillors and staff to hear from the community. We also have an excellent process of advertising and discussing policy applications and development applications with our community. We rely on our residents to be interested enough – which they are – to take notice of the traditional media and social media to stay current on what is happening. As you can imagine, residents are more interested when something is happening that may impact them or is located close to them but I generally think our residents are aware of what is happening in Dubbo. It is satisfying to be in a community where I constantly receive the feeling that our residents care what is happening.

The Senior Citizen of the Year nominations close today at 5pm. If you know of someone in the ‘experienced’ age bracket and they have been making a significant contribution to our community, please nominate them. There are many good people who are nominated but never assume that the person you know isn’t good enough. Put the nomination in and let the judges decide who the best nominee is.

Tickets are on sale now for the Anzac Sleep-Out. For $5 plus a very small booking fee you can sleep on Number 1 Oval on the night before our Anzac Centenary. It will be a wonderful experience. I look forward to seeing a huge number of people there.

 Read More...

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