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Mayoral Minutes

Hard to stay positive while the merger cloud looms

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

While the year has started off positively for Dubbo with businesses generally recording good Christmas sales numbers and events and projects for this year starting to roll out already, it is hard to think about long-term strategies and positive progress for Dubbo at the moment with the threat of a merger hanging over our heads.
I encourage everyone to read the Merger Proposal document on the State Government Web site at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au so you can gain more information on the proposal. I must admit to being incredibly disappointed with the quality of the document in my readings so far. The more I read the more inaccuracies I pick up. If one of my children was handing this in for a high school assignment I would be disappointed with the lack of attention to detail and just the plain inaccuracies in the document. Given that this will be the most important process in Dubbo’s history since our amalgamation with Talbragar Shire Council on 1 April 1980, I was hoping for a document of accurate and unbiased information to allow the people in our community to have a fair say on the proposal.
We are sending off information to the State Government highlighting some of the mistakes in the document in the hope they will be corrected and a new copy placed on the Web site. To give you but a few examples, on Page 10 a table lists the number of dwellings in Wellington as 15,934. Anyone familiar with the area would know this is more than their total population! It is an amateur copy and paste error as that is the number of dwellings in Dubbo. On Page 7 the number of residents are listed in Dubbo and Wellington as 41,573 and 8,951 with the new combined population cited as 50,627. A ten-year-old could tell you that those numbers add up to 50,524. Only a basic error I admit but it points to the level of accuracy in the document. In fact, the Government is not even clear on the population of Wellington. On Page 7 the population is 8,951 and on Page 11 the population is listed in a table as 9,054. It becomes much worse when you start looking at philosophical errors. I quote from the document: “These communities [Dubbo and Wellington] have a common heritage in both agriculture and mining.” In my opinion, after “four years of extensive consultation, research and analysis” as quoted in the document, I would have hoped that someone would have worked out neither Wellington nor Dubbo have any mines (yet) and Dubbo only employs 2.8 per cent of our employees in agriculture compared to Wellington’s 21.7 per cent.
For Dubbo ratepayers though, they should be most worried by the statement on Page 8. “The two councils are projecting divergent operating performance over the next 10 years. Dubbo City Council forecasts that its negative operating ratio will improve as it brings in more revenue than it spends, while Wellington Council projects that its expenses will grow faster than income over the same period.”
I would strongly encourage you to have a say – the submission form is open now at www.councilboundaryreview.nsw.gov.au and it is very easy to send in your submission. People power will hopefully win the day in this scenario.
On the positive side, we have the solid backing of our local Member and the Deputy Premier, Troy Grant. I have often said that it is fantastic having the Deputy Premier as the local Member and Troy does an excellent job undertaking both roles. At our time of need when we need someone sitting at the table with our best interests at heart, it is comforting to know he is backing Dubbo to stay as a standalone Council. #NoDubbington
Councillor Mathew Dickerson
Mayor of the City of Dubbo 

The 5 things it takes to be a successful leader - and intelligence isn't one of them!

Friday, January 08, 2016

Strong direction in 2016 after Dubbo's best year yet

Thursday, January 07, 2016
Dubbo

Largest grant ever received by Council to propel Dubbo growth

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In the history of Dubbo City Council, the four largest grants ever received from any level of government have occurred over the last five years.  Read More...

Remembering Our Fallen as relevant today as ever

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The majority of our residents were not alive when the Great War was being fought and it is often difficult for residents (including myself) in our modern society to fully understand the implications of World War I on Australia’s early history.
To gain some understanding of the impact of the War, I looked at some statistics. As Andrew Lang famously said, I shall try not to use statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts, for support rather than for illumination.
In the First World War, a total of 416,809 Australians enlisted for service, representing 38.7 per cent of the male population aged between 18 and 44. Most of these enlistments were in 1915. It is hard to think of the impact on society of such a large group of men being removed from their normal duties in a burgeoning society. If you think it is hard to get a tradesman today, think back one hundred years. 112,452 of those enlisted were tradesmen and 99,252 were labourers with an additional 57,430 with an official occupation of ‘country callings’ which I assume meant they were employed in the agricultural sector. There were still jobs to be performed in a very young country and suddenly great swathes of those able to perform those jobs were removed.
Obviously many of these never returned – 59,357 Australians died during the years of the war and the Roll of Honour records the number of deaths through to the formal disbandment of the AIF on 31 March 1921 as 61,514. Some would argue that these were the lucky ones. The soldiers that returned had to live with the atrocities forever etched into their minds. We had 4,044 Australians as Prisoners of War and 155,133 who were officially wounded in action but that doesn’t begin to tell the full story with many returned servicemen impacted by PTSD (before the term existed) and memories of the atrocities they experienced. It is little wonder that many felt depressed or turned to alcohol and drugs. I am not sure that even today we fully realise the impact that the First World War had on Australia.
Unfortunately the war to end all wars was not the last conflict Australians were involved in. Remembrance Day is celebrated on the anniversary of Armistice Day in 1918 but it is really to thank all 102,815 soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. While days like today are not held to ‘celebrate’ war, they are held to commemorate the sacrifice so many brave men and women have made to allow us to live in this wonderful nation.
Lest we forget.
Councillor Mathew Dickerson
Mayor of the City of Dubbo 

Application tracker now available for anytime review of Development Applications

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Builders, developers, home owners, businesses and any person with an interest in development applications can now track the progress of an application with an online search and progress tool now live on Dubbo City Council’s website.
Application Tracker provides up-to-date information on any development application, construction certificate or complying development certificate submitted from 1 November 2015.
Dubbo City Council Manager of Building and Development Services said Application Tracker allows users to track development related applications lodged with Council and view the supporting documents and most plans 24 hours a day.
“The new Application Tracker, available from a link on Councils webpage, is part of Council's commitment to improving the application process,” Mr Wallace said.
"Council is focused on making the land use application process as smooth and efficient as possible for our community and communication and feedback are an essential part of achieving this.”
"With the addition of Application Tracker, applicants will be able to conveniently track the progress of their application 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mr Wallace said.
The online portal provides relevant detail about each application including a description of the application and the assigned Council officer. A search by application number, date lodged or location can be made to review current applications. Tracking details include date received, commencement of assessment, date of any referrals made, neighbor notification, public exhibition, completion of assessment and determination dates.
As part of moving to a more online planning system, all development related applications lodged with Council must include digital copies of all required plans and documentation or a fee will be payable to have the hard copies electronically converted.
Application Tracker is now available at www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au 

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