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After being on the bike last week with the Tour de OROC, I have spent the first two days this week at the annual LGNSW conference. It will be good to spend a few days in Dubbo for the rest of this week. The annual local government conference is essential for Councillors to share ideas and stay up to date with what is happening in our sector. With the largest ever reform of local government currently being undertaken, it is more important than ever to look over our fence and see what is happening in the wider world. There is no doubt that the State Government wants to engage with the sector and many State representatives were in attendance. On Monday we heard from the Premier of NSW, the Hon Mike Baird MP, and then yesterday we had a smorgasbord of politicians including the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, the Hon Duncan Gay MLC; the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP; the Shadow Minister for Local Government, the Hon Peter Primrose MLC and many more. Not only did we have a chance to hear from our State representatives but they had a chance to hear from us – both as a collective and individually. The conference also gave Councillors the opportunity to talk to Councillors from other areas and see how they are solving similar problems.
I have had a chance to catch up with Gilgandra Council while at the conference and we discussed the re-enactment of the Coo-ee March. The March will be passing through Dubbo next Tuesday and I encourage all of our residents to cheer on the participants in the March. It is a huge undertaking with the March starting this Saturday in Gilgandra and ending in Sydney on 11 November – one of many events occurring in this Anzac centenary year.
I will have the honour of welcoming the next group of University of Sydney School of Rural Health students to Dubbo this week. The students we had this year embraced Dubbo and I believe our residents embraced them. They all spoke of the positive experiences they had in Dubbo – with many seeing their year in Dubbo as altering their direction in life. Please keep an eye out for these students and make them feel at home in our city this year.
Don’t forget that Dubbo Day nominations close on 28 October. There are many worthy people making a difference in our community – make sure you nominate someone you know who is contributing to our wonderful city. Read More...
As you read this, I will be well on my way to Bourke having stayed at Cobar last night. There is nothing particularly unusual about that – many people travel the Kidman Way each day. The major difference is that I will be doing this on a bicycle in 38°C heat with an 8km/h headwind with a group of people raising money for the Macquarie Homestay. We are currently on day three of the Toyota Tour de OROC with the next two days the toughest with back to back 230+km days ahead of us. The highlight so far has been day one with the addition of Robbie McEwen to our peloton. Robbie sits in the same stratosphere as Cadel Evans in Australia’s cycling world yet he impressed everyone with his down-to-earth attitude and interesting stories from his days of success in the Tour de France. Keep an eye on the Tour de OROC Facebook page for regular updates. Read More...
Congratulations to Councillors Kevin Parker and John Walkom who were elected to the important committee chair positions on Monday night.
Thanks also to Councillor Lyn Griffiths who had served with distinction in the Chair’s position for the previous 5 years but chose not to stand this year. The Planning & Development; Works and Services and Finance and Policy committees are standing committees of Council and serve an important purpose of allowing free and open debate on important issues to Council before feeding the resolutions through to the Council meeting in the week following the committee meetings.
Chairs of these committees therefore need to encourage free and open debate whilst still maintaining a gentle but firm control of the meeting. I am sure we are in good hands for the next twelve months.
Last weekend saw Dubbo host the State Country Cricket Carnival. Dubbo is continually proving itself as a more than capable host of major events – sporting and otherwise – and when Cricket NSW needed a venue to host this carnival, they didn’t hesitate in contacting Dubbo.
That is two major junior events hosted in Dubbo this year and we are programmed to have two more major events next year – one with Cricket NSW and one with Cricket Australia. When you combine our facilities with the motel accommodation and easy access in our city – in addition to easy access to our city via road and air, there is no wonder that various organisations look to Dubbo as a venue for an event or carnival.
After four years in the job, I am still amazed at just how many different events are held in Dubbo every week of the year. We can’t afford to be complacent though – and many organisers quote our enthusiasm or excellent staff as reasons that they keep coming back.
In the art world, the Western Plains Cultural Centre keeps attracting visitors from far and wide to view the variety of exhibitions.
Last Friday I had the pleasure of opening ArtExpress – a selection of artworks from the 2014 HSC. I encourage everyone to visit this exhibition – to look at the incredible talent and maturity from people in Year 12 is amazing. All 28 pieces scored a perfect fifty out of fifty in the HSC and you will see artworks from people in Dubbo and the region included.
Well done to the Dubbo Netball Association (DNA) who hosted their grand finals on the weekend.
Over 1200 players participated in netball this season which is an incredible number of players for the volunteer committee members of DNA to manage. Read More...
I participated in a Council workshop on Monday night to discuss Evocities and a range of issues related to Fit for the Future. That doesn’t seem like that big a deal – Council holds a variety of workshops on various issues on an ongoing basis. The one aspect of this workshop that was dramatically different was the fact that this workshop was being held in Armidale with the Councillors of Armidale Dumaresq Council. When the new Evocities MOU was sent to all seven Evocities Councils earlier in the year, most of the Councils signed up for the four year term of the MOU. Armidale Dumaresq were not totally satisfied with some aspects of the program so they agreed to sign the MOU for one year only and then hold a workshop to further discuss Evocities. The Mayor of Armidale Dumaresq asked me to attend that workshop and give the Councillors more information on Evocities to help them make an informed decision. I was happy to do that – and in the course of our discussions, the Councillors asked me questions from a variety of areas of Council. Evocities and Fit for the Future and amalgamations and the list goes on. This isn’t to say that Dubbo is necessarily dealing with Council issues dramatically better than Armidale Dumaresq but it is always a learning experience to hear how someone else is dealing with a similar problem. It also confirmed that Dubbo is definitely seen as a thought leader with regional Councils.
At the end of the discussion I was bold enough to ask which Councillor was going to move a motion at the next Council meeting to support the MOU for a four-year period. A Councillor volunteered and the support in the room seemed unanimous.
Whilst in Armidale, I also took the opportunity to meet with the NEMTB Club in relation to the Evocities MTB Series. For a number of reasons, the Armidale leg of the series this year was held in Western Sydney but the Club was very keen to see a round held in Armidale next year. The success of the series this year is seeing people move mountains to be a part of the series next year. The last race in the series is this Sunday in Wagga and we will be having a teleconference with all of the Clubs on Monday to make a decision on next year.
This Friday will see the annual State of the City report. It is being held at 12.15pm in the Ground Floor Conference Room at Council. This is a chance for Council to reflect on what has occurred over the last financial year and give some data and statistics to give a snapshot of our progress. I encourage as many as possible to attend. Read More...
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- Largest grant ever received by Council to propel Dubbo growth
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- Giving our youth the keys to happiness is easier said than done
- From the Outback to the big smoke, Dubbo on my mind.
- Robbie McEwen joins Tour de Oroc
- Committed citizens can set the wheels of change in motion