I noted with great pleasure that the editor of the Daily Liberal newspaper quoted a figure from recently released Census data. At 19.6 per cent, our level of engagement as community volunteers rates significantly higher than the State average of 16.9 per cent. I saw more evidence of this when I attended the RFDS open day at the weekend with about 400 other people.
The new base manager, Gary Ransby, has fallen in love with Dubbo and the generosity of our residents. The newly inducted President of the Rotary Club of Dubbo South, Joe Canalese, was at the function. His club has contributed almost $1 million dollars to the RFDS - what a fantastic community effort.
The Eisteddfod is another example of community involvement. A small committee of incredibly hard-working people combined with more than 200 volunteers to run the 42nd annual Eisteddfod. More than 6,000 people participated in the event and the Grand Concert on Saturday night gave just a small glimpse of the incredible talent we have in the region.
I met with ALDI at their headquarters in Sydney last week and looked over a very impressive operation. They have five warehouses and the one we looked at was the smallest – at just under 5ha. Again they emphasised the fact that they love what Dubbo has to offer and appreciate the full support of the Council, but they are still working on their logistics. I know that Tamworth is also keen for an ALDI but they are a similar distance from Sydney.
Just up the road from ALDI is the Harris Farm headquarters. I met with Luke Harris. They have held several negotiations with developers but have not yet committed to any site. I asked if Council had ever blocked their progression into Dubbo; they said Council had only ever been supportive and professional. Luke’s parents were also at the meeting. David Harris is the Founder and CEO of Harris Farm and Catherine Harris AO PSM is the Chair of the Board. Cath is also the only female on the ARL Commission. I did mention to Cath that Dubbo is currently submitting an application for the City V Country origin match for 2013 and cheekily suggested that it would be good to see her in Dubbo twice next year – once for a Rugby League match and then for a store opening!