NRL Match key to helping region recover from Coronavirus

On Monday night I tabled a Mayoral Minute to Council proposing to bring an NRL game to Dubbo in the near future. It might surprise a few people that the most unsporting Councillor to be elected would be the one who would drive this but despite not knowing my football racquet from my tennis stick, I know just how good it would be for our region.

It has been a tough time economically for Western NSW, with the drought having hurt us for several years and without even having time to recover from that, we have been hit by the dramatic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have no doubt that the Dubbo Region is resilient enough to recover from these setbacks, but rather than watching it happen over a number of years, I believe we should look at this as an opportunity to lead the way. It is my goal for Dubbo to have the best possible recovery of any region.

Part of the way we can do that is by revitalising our tourism sector and bringing people to Dubbo and Wellington again. I believe hosting an NRL game in the next two years would be a very effective way for us to showcase our region. Ideally, I would like to see it next year to aid our economic recovery.

Dubbo can enjoy the benefits of a top tier sporting event, not just on the weekend it happens but for a long time afterwards as it will spike interest from people wanting to visit.

I have already had anecdotal evidence there is enthusiasm within the community to host an NRL game. Through talking to people and the response on my Facebook page so many have said they think it is a good idea. But to make sure, part of my Mayoral Minute involved gauging the community sentiment towards it and then exploring the grant opportunities that could subsidise it.

At this stage we don’t know exactly what it would cost to bring a match to Dubbo but we know from attempts by previous Councils to bring a match without paying that some fee will be required. That is why we will look at grants, but also potential sponsorship options from local businesses and sporting bodies who are keen to be involved.

This Council has proven to be very responsible with ratepayer funds and I believe that if we can secure an NRL match at the right price it will pay for itself multiple times over in benefit to the community.

The other big question would be what teams would we try and attract. I’m no expert on teams, but I know I want to see a great game between popular teams being played at Apex Oval in front of a capacity crowd.

In the coming weeks and months, Council will make contact with the NRL and talk to stakeholders, and a report will compiled. I can’t wait to see the outcome and really hope it can result in a match being played here. I’ll have my football racquet ready.

Last Edited: 07 Aug 2020

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