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...