Three years on, merger has brought benefits for Dubbo
It's been three
years since the Dubbo City and Wellington Councils were amalgamated to form the
Dubbo Regional Council and it is amazing to see how much progress has been made
in that time.
It's well known
that the merger was unpopular, particularly because of the manner it was done
by the State Government. However as I have said regularly, once the decision
was done, it was important to accept it and move on.
I strongly believe
that the merger has brought benefits for both former local government areas. To
provide an incentive for the merger, the State Government made a significant
amount of money available. Council has been able to identify a large number of
projects that will have a long term benefit and start those much sooner than
would have otherwise been possible.
A quick look
around the region shows just how much work has been going on. Developments are
being approved across the city because this Council is open for business. One
particularly satisfying outcome was getting the development through at the
former RAAF Stores Base, which has sat dormant for more than 18 years.
The work going on
at the airport is amazing, with constant improvement to passenger services but
also the establishment of an emergency services precinct including facilities
for the police, rural fire service, VRA, SES and Royal Flying Doctor Service.
There is also the
Adventure Playground at the Botanic Garden, upgrades to Victoria Park, new Cycle
Club facility and the new splash pad at the Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre.
has also worked hard on its own finances. Bringing two organisations together
allows for some streamlining and savings, but CEO Michael McMahon has looked
hard for other opportunities and that resulted in a $10 million saving
identified between September 2017 and August 2018.
That kind of
fiscal responsibility will serve the Council well in years to come. It's not a
one-off either. Further investigations will be carried out to see if there are
other savings opportunities.
Your Council is
also ambitious. We have set a strong social agenda and have pushed to have a
drug court and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. The Federal Government
has committed $3 million dollars and we are lobbying the State Government to
commit to the project.
We have also set
the target of being one of Australia's most disability-friendly regional cities
and have formed a disability technical panel, and made $2 million available
over four years to address issues.
We are also
committed to Wellington and the villages, and I think people can see they are
receiving more funding and more focus than ever before.
There is still
more to do but we will continue to make the right decisions to ensure Dubbo grows
and maintains its place as the capital of Western NSW.
Finally I would
like to congratulate Mark Coulton on his success in the Federal Election on
Mark works hard
for his community, and he has been a great advocate on issues such as
healthcare and mobile black spots.
I have enjoyed working with Mark
since he was first elected in 2007 and I am pleased that will continue into the
Last Edited: 06 Jun 2019