Mayor's Column 26 December 2018

 Picnic7

Christmas is over for another year and I hope everyone had a relaxing time with family and friends.

As we come to the end of another year, it is worth looking back at some of the major achievements of Dubbo Regional Council during 2018.

Without doubt the “crowning” event of 2018 was the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan. This event put Dubbo on the map.

From the moment it was announced the newlyweds would be making their way to Dubbo, worldwide media outlets began to focus on our city. The coverage was incredible and only became more intense as the visit got closer.

The exposure Dubbo received was absolutely incredible and priceless. Awareness of the region as a tourist destination soared on the back of their visit.

On 17 October, 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan flew into Dubbo and another significant Day in Dubbo’s history began. From the airport visit including the memorable hug between Harry and young Luke Vincent, to the farm visit where the Royals heard about the impacts of the drought, through to the Picnic in the Park, the day was amazing.

It was the latest in a long list of royal visits to Dubbo, but Harry and Meghan are part of a new generation of more approachable Royals and they showed the appetite for interaction with them is still sky-high.

Everybody involved with that visit should be very proud. I know how hard Council staff worked to ensure everything was perfect, and the community played a massive role too. I have no doubt we will continue to feel the positive impacts for a long time to come.

While the Royal visit is hard to top, there have been some other notable outcomes in 2018.

The final approval for a new development at the former RAAF Stores Depot has been granted and the first signs of work should be seen in the New Year.

This is a very exciting development. For 15 years the RAAF base has sat there empty and becoming more dilapidated with every rejected development application.

However this Council worked with the developers rather than against them, and were able to get the tick of approval. It was also recently given approval by the Office of Environment and Heritage which means the last hurdle has been cleared.

After years of driving past and thinking what an eyesore at the main entrance of the city, soon it will be a point of pride. I personally can’t wait to see it progress and believe it will be an important development for Dubbo.

Earlier this year the Council was able to announce $10 million of savings in a number of areas including communications, consultancies, legal services, merger savings and the realignment of infrastructure projects and staff salaries.

Through good financial management we were able to set that money aside and then allocate it to deserving projects such as developing a masterplan for the Dubbo Showground, improving rural roads, developing a business case for a drug rehabilitation centre and the installation of more Gross Pollutant Traps.

These are all fantastic measures and will benefit the region in the long term. I am particularly pleased it was done without a slash and burn. Many happened through careful investigation and indicate the fiscal responsibility this Council is committed to.

I also have to thank the staff of Dubbo Regional Council for their hard work in 2018. There have been challenges to overcome but our staff have handled them with complete commitment and professionalism and that has contributed to the fantastic year Council has had.

I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2019 and hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday period.

Last Edited: 03 Jan 2019

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