Mayor's Column 2 January 2019

There is little doubt that 2018 has been one of the most successful years in Dubbo’s history.

Despite unprecedented drought and continuing council amalgamation entanglements our city and region has been booming in growth and prosperity at a rate that’s never been seen in living memory.

But what does 2019 have install for the Dubbo region? If we play our cards right by continuing our new Council's “open for business” reforms while embracing opportunity for all residents and openly attracting new people to our region, we can further consolidate our leading position in the state.

2019 will see the continuation and completion of a number of projects that will not only be exciting, but will assist in our city’s growth.

Another part of the Elizabeth Park botanical gardens roll out, along with its natural playground, will be completed. This park, being home to our existing Japanese gardens and sensory parklands will start to be a regional drawcard to rival any parklands in the state.

Work will continue on funding and construction of the Boundary Road extension to Sheraton Road, this road once competed will take a lot of traffic pressure of Cobra Street and dramatically assist traffic flow through central to eastern Dubbo.

The unprecedented building work at the Dubbo City Regional Airport will see the Rural Fire Service Training Centre Headquarters completed along with an expanded Royal Flying Doctor Service, brand new Volunteer Rescue Squad and SES facilities and significantly increased parking.

Victoria Park’s ovals will continue to be redeveloped and upgraded to be a first class facility while Council will construct a state of the art cycling facility behind Charles Stuart University.

The multi-million dollar Purvis Lane reconstruction will move into construction phase while further rural road sealing will continue at Old Mendooran Road and various village streets. Under the advice of the Disability Inclusion Panel, Council will also start the rollout of infrastructure that will make Dubbo the most accessible city in Australia for people with disabilities.

With all this going on, we also must look at the major issues that will come our way in 2019.

Of course, locals are well versed in my concerns about the third River Street Bridge and how that plan does nothing to reduce traffic congestion on Whylandra Street. We also know about community concerns about hospital car parking and where it was revealed that in a recent byelection in Wagga Wagga saw the Liberal and Labor candidates commit to a $30 million multi-storey carpark while here in Dubbo, our pleas have been ignored.

Council will seriously start to grapple with our multi-million dollar infrastructure backlog, particularly within the rural areas and the old Wellington Shire. A detailed asset management plan that lists our shortfalls will be a much talked about issue and will be one for the state to assist in funding our ageing infrastructure burden.

We also will need to be mindful of our workforce capabilities. While we should also celebrate our city’s exceptionally low unemployment rate, the lack of labour available is starting to really strain a lot of our businesses. We must put further pressure on State and Federal Governments to encourage more people to make the tree change to Dubbo which will ultimately assist the labour shortage issue.

2019 should also be a year where Council and the business community consolidate our position as a leading retail and events centre. With other regional centres starting to grow their retail offerings, we need to be looking at ways to expand our retail range to keep attracting shoppers to Dubbo. Council is already committed upgrading the CBD precinct in view to economic growth and further innovative works are in the pipeline. I again urge some of the major missing national retailers to look at our city’s economic performance and set up shop in our community - I’m especially looking at you Kmart!

Recent events in Dubbo such as the Royal Visit and the Aboriginal Football Knockout show that Dubbo is ideally situated to host major events, so 2019 is certainly the time to grow on our recent event victories and expand our offerings in this space.

2019 is set to be both exciting and challenging. We have never been in a better position to push for a bigger better Dubbo.

Last Edited: 03 Jan 2019

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