On 18 August 2005, Linton Besser wrote a story for the Daily Liberal explaining that I was committed to pushing Council to use hybrid vehicles. The hybrid concept was very new at the time (I had only just purchased one the previous year for my business), the environment wasn’t given the same level of importance at the time and petrol prices were certainly cheaper than today so I lost that argument.
Fast forward seven years and the mayoral vehicle is now a hybrid vehicle. As of yesterday, the official mayoral vehicle has gone from a 1.9 tonne 6.0 litre V8 to an Australian made 1.5 tonne 2.5 litre petrol-electric hybrid. And with good reason.
The Council policy – for some twenty years – has stipulated that the mayoral vehicle be a Holden V8 Caprice or equivalent. And that made sense. Mayors in days gone by would spend a lot more time in their car travelling throughout the region and probably travelling regularly in their vehicle to Sydney and Canberra.
In my term so far as mayor, I have used the vehicle for mayoral duties outside Dubbo only twice. I spend most of my day travelling from meeting to meeting within Dubbo and, with our city being very well serviced with 144 flights per week, I typically travel to Sydney by plane. This is more efficient and more cost-effective.
Prices for fuel have gone up dramatically over the last few years. The average price for crude oil in December 2008 was US$41.53 per barrel but by March 2012 it had increased to US$117.79 per barrel – an increase of 280 per cent over three years and three months.
Although hybrid vehicles had question marks over them back when I first started pushing the issue in Council, they now have the runs on the board and taxis regularly run up hundreds of thousands of kilometres in hybrids. The battery has an 8 year / 160,000km warranty.
Sometimes it takes time to make things happen within Council and life is all about timing. I believe the timing was right for this change within Council and I believe you will start to see more vehicles on the road in coming months challenging the accepted norm.
Once again we have evidence of the great volunteering spirit in Dubbo. We have ten students from Minokamo in Dubbo at the moment along with two chaperones and two gardeners who are here to maintain our Shoyoen Garden – and we have 13 generous families in Dubbo who are hosting these families. We also have a number of volunteers on our Barden Park committee and we are in Sydney today inspecting athletics facilities at Homebush, Campbelltown and Blacktown. I see constant examples of Dubbo people freely giving up their time to help this city and it makes Dubbo a better place.