Author: mathew

Congratulations to the National Party on the result in Dubbo

Congratulations to the National Party on the result in Dubbo

The Electoral Commission Web site today published the final Distribution of Preferences for Dubbo

Mathew Dickerson has today sent the man who will be the new Member for the Dubbo electorate, Dugald Saunders, a message to congratulate him on his victory in the seat of Dubbo and wished him all the best of luck for the next four years in representing this wonderful electorate. 

Mr Dickerson knew he was taking on a gargantuan task – and is disappointed, for himself and the electorate, to fall despairingly short of his target, particularly given the positive results in Barwon, Orange, Murray and Wagga Wagga and the makeup of the Parliament. 

When Mr Dickerson announced he was standing for the seat on 22 May 2018, he was taking on the National Party machine who polled 60.46 per cent of the primary vote at the 2015 election and held the seat with a margin of 20.42 per cent over a strong Country Labor (CLP) candidate who was backing up for another tilt at the seat. 

Logic would dictate it was too large a hill to climb – but Mr Dickerson has forged his life on taking on challenges regardless of the difficulty and attacked the problem the only way he knew: with passion, dedication, authenticity and plain old-fashioned hard work. 

Ten months of campaigning followed. Mr Dickerson travelled almost 40,000km around the 17,352.89 square kilometres of the electorate visiting people in every single one of the 131 localities. He wore out one set of tyres, two pairs of shoes and spoke with over 2,500 people in his pursuit to give people a voice. Across the electorate he was well-received and people appreciated the efforts he put into the campaign.

Mr Dickerson knew that everything had to go right on election day to negate the 20.42 per cent margin. He believed that if he could win close to 30 per cent of the primary vote and be within 10 per cent of the National Party, he would be in with a good chance of winning on preferences. This was based on analysis of other seats such as the last election in Wagga Wagga when Joe McGirr won the seat with a primary vote of 25.42 per cent and in Orange where Phil Donato won the seat with a primary vote of 23.76 per cent. Dr Kerryn Phelps recently won Wentworth with a primary vote of 29.2 per cent and to further illustrate the point, at the 2019 election, the Lismore seat was won with 25.61 per cent of the primary vote; the Ballina seat was won with 31.71 per cent of the primary vote and Barwon was won with 32.96 per cent of the primary vote.

In early voting and on election day, a massive team of 271 volunteers turned out to help Mr Dickerson attempt to deliver the seat to an Independent. “I was absolutely humbled by the amount of support I was receiving from the community. People from all locations and all walks of life were contacting me to stand at booths or volunteer at campaign offices or help in any way they could. I sincerely thank all of these people for their support, time, energy and unwavering belief in me,” said Mr Dickerson.

Mr Dickerson polled well. On election day, he won 10 of the 25 booths including seven of the eight booths in Dubbo and Wellington. Unfortunately, the losses in locations such as The Nationals heartland township of Trangie and the Mudgee PCYC and Gulgong were more than the gains in Dubbo and Wellington.

Mr Dickerson polled 28.42 per cent of the primary vote across the entire electorate. Close to his target of 30 per cent. The National Party were only 9 per cent ahead. A gap easily able to be made up with the right preference flow. An analysis of preferences shows that Mr Dickerson gained more preferences than the National Party from the Flux Party; the Australian Conservative Party and the Greens.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) candidate polled well with 13.70 per cent of the primary vote but, with no recommended preferences, 65.85 per cent of the SFF preferences were exhausted rather than distributed. Mr Dickerson again picked up the majority of the small number of preferences from SFF voters and, before the distribution of Country Labor Party preferences, the Nationals were in front by 3,803 votes with 8,095 votes to be distributed from the CLP candidate.

Once again, the majority of the preferences flowed to Mr Dickerson with 3,052 preferences flowing to Mr Dickerson and 799 votes flowing to the National Party. Disappointingly, 52.43 per cent of people chose not to list preferences and these 4,244 votes were exhausted.

After the final washup, the Nationals Party candidate was elected with only 39.56 per cent of the electorate listing the Nationals candidate as their preferred Member – a very strong argument for compulsory preferential voting rather than the current optional preferential system.

The final electoral margin was 2.02 per cent with the two candidate preferred numbers sitting at 52.02 per cent to the Nationals and 47.98 per cent to the Independent. After any election there are many ifs and buts, particularly when the election is close. If only Mr Dickerson had not lost so many votes in Trangie and Gulgong; if only Mr Dickerson performed better at Mudgee and Dubbo Early Voting; if only more people had followed the CLP How to Vote card; if only the SFF had listed preferences.

Although disappointed with the final result, rather than crying over spilt milk, Mr Dickerson looks to the positives from the election. “The seat was formerly considered very safe with a 20.42 per cent margin and was easy for the Government to ignore. We now have the 3rd most marginal seat in Government at 2.02 per cent and this should result in additional attention being paid to this seat. The Government understands that it can’t ignore a seat where residents have shown they will vote on the issues,” said a typically positive Mr Dickerson.

One of the comments that Mr Dickerson continually heard as he travelled the electorate was that people were sick and tired of the standard negative campaigning of the big parties and the internal focus of candidates on the party rather than the electorate.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Dickerson refused to engage in muckraking or publicly insulting his opponents. Instead, Mr Dickerson continued to focus on the positives that he could achieve for the electorate if elected. Despite the fact that his opponents continued to focus on spurious complaints to the electoral commission and accusations of illegal spending and continual negativity directed at Mr Dickerson, Mr Dickerson focused on how he could make a positive difference in the electorate. He promised to put a moratorium on CSG; deliver 24-hour Police Stations to Wellington and Narromine; deliver a Drug Court and associated support services to Dubbo; develop better solutions for use of water in the region; add health services at Mudgee Hospital; deliver hospital car-parking solutions for Dubbo Hospital; reduce power bills with an emphasis on network charges; deliver regional payroll tax exemptions; solve the River Street bridge problem; get our fair share of the Restart NSW fund and much more. Essentially, focus on what this electorate wanted and needed. Mr Dickerson hopes that residents will continue to lobby their new Member for these issues that are important to them.

“Thank you to all of the wonderful support given to me by the wider community and I can assure residents I worked incredibly hard to deliver the right result. Unfortunately, I fell just short,” finished Mr Dickerson.

Mr Dickerson will continue to work on his business interests and contribute to the community with his ongoing community involvement in committees and service clubs as he has done for his entire life.

All localities visited in the electorate

All localities visited in the electorate

Mathew Dickerson ticked off locality 131 on day 247 of the campaign after travelling 31,528km

He promised to visit every locality in the electorate and independent candidate, Mathew Dickerson, has today completed a promise he made on the day of his announcement. On 22 May 2018, Mr Dickerson declared that he would visit every single official locality in the electorate and have a conversation with people in that locality about what was important to them. The visit to Wongarbon at 11am today sees this particular mission completed.

 

In August Mr Dickerson had the name of each locality placed on his vehicle and from that time has had someone in each locality place a tick next to the locality name to indicate he had visited that area. It is a visual demonstration of the commitment that Mr Dickerson made in being a representative for every single person in every single location across the electorate. There is no doubting the enormity of the task completed and the size of the electorate. 17,352.89 square kilometres. That is only five per cent smaller in area than the entire country of Fiji!

 

Mr Dickerson knew that the issues would be different across the electorate and it has proven to be so. To the extreme west of the electorate are Dandaloo and Trangie which are in extreme contrast to the East of the electorate where Lue and Totnes Valley are located. To the North are localities such as Bundemar and Eumungerie with issues different to Crudine and Kerrs Creek in the South. In the middle are the major population centres such as Dubbo; Mudgee; Wellington and Narromine.

 

Armed with feedback from the community, Mr Dickerson can now continue to develop his Purple Papers to further explore issues that residents have told him are important. With more than a thousand conversations across the electorate, and more to come, Mr Dickerson feels very well placed to have conversations about what is needed across the electorate.

 

“It is very enjoyable hearing stores from people across the electorate. Everyone has an interesting story to tell and the needs are as diverse as the region. Sally at Bara supplements her farm income with unique accommodation offerings. Jeff at Birriwa is experimenting with different crops. Ruth and Tim at Bocoble have concerns about consent conditions. Ted at Burrundulla wants more tourism for his wine. Dave at Cooyal needs cheaper petrol. Tony at Curra Creek has demonstrated how to live off the grid. Peter at Euchareena is limited by the roads feeding his property. Eric at Geurie has survived the drought using different farming methods. Albert at Green Gully needs better health facilities in Mudgee. Susie at Mullamuddy needs better phone reception. The list goes on with conversations I had with people across the electorate but there is one common thread. Everyone wants better representation and better outcomes for themselves and the wider electorate. People want to know their voice is heard,” said Mr Dickerson.

 

“I will continue to travel the electorate right up until the election and then, if I am elected, I promise that I will continue to communicate with people across the entire area. I will commit to a minimum visitation to every locality across a two-year cycle. This is no less than the people of this electorate deserve.”

 

A myriad of issues have been raised as Mathew has travelled the electorate and this will continue right up until the day of the election. If elected, Mr Dickerson will be the best placed candidate to represent the electorate. As an Independent, Mathew promises to represent the electorate with honesty and integrity, and without the constraints of a party structure.

 

“It is clear where my only priority is and I will not be torn between masters. I will only be answerable to the people of this electorate,” concluded Mr Dickerson.

30,000 kilometres recorded on day 239 of campaign

30,000 kilometres recorded on day 239 of campaign

Mathew Dickerson well on track to delivering campaign promise

He promised to visit every locality in the electorate and independent candidate, Mathew Dickerson, isn’t shying away from the challenge having clocked up 30,000 kilometres by day 239 of his campaign. Mr Dickerson made that promise on 22 May last year as he announced his endeavour to become the voice of the Dubbo electorate come the state election on 23 March.

There is no doubting the enormity of the task and the size of the electorate. 17,352.89 square kilometres. That is only five per cent smaller in area than the entire country of Fiji! Across such a large area, issues are bound to be different and it has proven to be so.

Mr Dickerson has met with people in 114 localities so far with only 17 left to go. That doesn’t mean Mr Dickerson will stop listening though. He will continue to listen until the day of the election and, just as he did during his five years as Mayor, he will continue to listen to all people across the electorate.

There are some issues of commonality across the electorate but, more often than not, issues raised are specific to the area and the individual. That is why Mr Dickerson believes it is so important to travel the length and breadth of the electorate and be accessible to all people across each community.

Nino in Carcalgong discussed Crown Lands; Natalie in Curra Creek discussed health and power; Ruth in Bocoble had concerns about consent conditions; Bob in Ulan talked mining; Leoni in Yarrabin had water and fish on her mind and Gary in Maitland Bar wanted changes in licensing laws. These are just small snippets from over a thousand hours of conversations that Mr Dickerson has participated in during the campaign.

Mr Dickerson took 100 days for the first 10,000km; 82 days for the next 10,000km and only 57 days for the third 10,000km. During this campaign, he has held over 1,000 meetings, sometimes with just one person and at other times he has stood in front of groups of almost 100 people.

“This is an old-fashioned authentic method of finding out what really matters to the people in this electorate.”

“I will continue to travel the electorate right up until the election and then, if I am elected, I promise that I will continue to communicate with people across the entire area. This is no less than the people of this electorate deserve.”

“As I travel people often ask me for the common theme across each community. By travelling to all parts of the electorate I am able to hear what is important to different people in different areas,” Mr Dickerson said.

Real support for regional growth

Real support for regional growth

VotE Purple Paper Issue 2: 13 January 2019

Ensuring the Dubbo electorate has the support it needs for regional growth and investment is paramount in my endeavour to produce results as I campaign to become your independent representative. Several initiatives are currently in place to highlight the wonderful areas we have in this electorate; however, funding has been made scarce over time and we risk losing the full potential these organisations have to offer.

Organisations such as Evocities, Regional Development Australia Orana and Regional Capitals Australia are essential in developing the hidden treasures this electorate possesses, but as with any organisation funding is crucial.

“WE NEED INITIATIVES THAT ARE GOING TO TELL THE METRO AREAS ABOUT THE WONDERFUL AREAS WE HAVE IN THIS ELECTORATE. WE NEED MONEY TO DO THAT.”

All State funding has been removed from Evocities despite proven results of over 3,500 households relocating across the seven regional cities as a known direct result of the program. The funding for the initiative is currently being entirely left to the seven Councils despite the obvious benefits to the government of reducing the population pressure in Sydney.

As a former Chair of Evocities and as the founder of the richest MTB series in the nation based around the Evocities concept, I saw first hand the exceptional results that were being achieved by Evocities. If successful come the election I will propose the government matches the Evocities funding contributed by the Councils meaning a government contribution of $560,000 in the next financial year.

Regional Development Australia Orana (RDA) is in its tenth year of operation in what once was an organisation jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments. A year ago, this State Government removed all funding from RDA. If a government is serious about regional development it needs to provide the funds to promote that regional development. RDA Orana was previously funded to the tune of $150,000 annually.

The removal of this income has pushed RDA Orana to generate income via fee for service work which includes RDA Orana charging to bring people from overseas to work in regional areas. With unemployment in Sydney sitting at four per cent, there are over 200,000 people in Sydney looking for work. Providing funds to an organisation such as RDA Orana to facilitate the movement of people and businesses from metro areas to regional areas makes more sense than sourcing people from overseas. If elected, I would propose to reinstate funding to RDA Orana and increase the figure to $200,000 to allow them to concentrate on growing regional areas.

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is another organisation that I have observed from both the inside and the outside. Dubbo City Council joined RCA soon after its formation in 2012 and I sat on the board shortly thereafter. Across the 50 regional capitals in Australia the population is similar to that of a Sydney or a Melbourne and the regional capitals contribute $225 billion every year to the Australian economy.

This organisation, which promotes and represents regional capitals across the nation, is funded by Member Councils, once again leaving the burden of regional promotion to Councils. If elected, I would propose that the government matches the contribution made by the Councils in NSW therefore allowing RCA to contribute more research and better outcomes to the regional capitals across Australia.

These initiatives come at a cost to the government but if any government is serious about regional development, that government needs to put money on the table. Increasing growth in regional areas will allow areas in the electorate to maintain services and businesses such as health, banking and government services. It will make it easier to justify additional expenditure on infrastructure and it will ease the burden on the growing population of Sydney. It is also relevant to think of the miniscule cost to the government of these initiatives compared to the $4.3 billion this government has been prepared to spend on light rail and new stadia in Sydney. Regional growth does not need light rail or new stadia. It needs a government prepared to back regional areas.

With ongoing funding from the State Government, these three organisations can promote career and lifestyle, easing of financial pressures, community and family, and investment in regional capitals. Many areas in this electorate have the capacity to accommodate further growth and are a viable and immediate option to address the crippling congestion issues in metro areas. Unemployment rates are low across this electorate and there is surplus housing availability allowing growth to occur immediately.

Councillor Kevin Mack, mayor of Albury and chair of Evocities, said Evocities is no longer simply a market platform, but an invaluable initiative which is producing results by penetrating the metro market.

“Our research has shown that people will often be attracted to the larger city in an area, such as Dubbo, but then move out to the surrounding towns so although Evocities has a focus on the central city it also delivers benefits to the surrounding towns, such as Wellington and Narromine,” he said.

Councillor Mack believes independent representation will prove beneficial in moving forward. “As an independent you have a stronger voice for your electorate, provide the community access to your office and provide information to the government of the day. How can they ignore that,” he said.

Mayor Shane Van Styn, mayor of the City of Greater Geraldton and Deputy Chair of RCA said his organisation plays a vital role in growing regional capital cities by advocating for more investment to occur in regional Australia. “Research commissioned RCA made the case for businesses and people to move from major capital cities into regional Australia, creating more jobs and ensuring more services and important infrastructure is funded by the Australian Government,” Mayor Van Styn Said.

Fighting for 24-hour policing in two towns an election promise

Fighting for 24-hour policing in two towns an election promise

VotE Purple Paper Issue 1: 30 December 2018 

As the independent candidate for the Dubbo electorate, I pledge to fight for 24-hour policing in Narromine and Wellington if I am successful in the 2019 state election after identifying public safety as a top priority. I promise to be the ‘voice of the people’ in an ongoing push by residents for increased policing in both towns after I have learnt of the public’s desperate state during my continuing listening tour of the electorate.

These communities deserve 24-hour policing and the community feedback has been incredibly strong. I am but the voice of the people and people are frustrated and concerned with the lack of resourcing.

“THESE COMMUNITIES DESERVE 24-HOUR POLICING AND THE COMMUNITY FEEDBACK HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY STRONG.”

Wellington resident and President of the Wellington Business Chamber, Barry Jefferyis pleased to learn that I will join the fight for a 24-hour police station.

“Wellington Police numbers have been low for too long and the people of Wellington have had enough. Many people have been robbed on multiple occasions and many elderly people live in fear of leaving their homes empty for even a short time. The people of Wellington are tax paying citizens and deserve better. Wellington now has two correctional centres which creates extra work for the already over worked police officers of this town and often leaves the people of Wellington without a quick response Police presence,” Mr Jeffery said.

Kat Barnes, Coordinator Narromine Crime & Neighbourhood Watch, is also of the belief a 24-hour police station would bring a much-needed sense of security to community members who are concerned for the safety of their family and property. “Police presence in our town conveys a positive message to residents, especially those who have been victims of crime. Increased hours, more officers and better response times are CRITICAL for Narromine right now. I believe 24-hour policing is not much to ask considering the amount of crime occurring in our community,” Ms Barnes said.

Local businessman, Ron Moore, continued the sentiment of frustration. “Unfortunately, our local criminals appear wiser than the current local Member gives them credit for with the majority of crimes taking place when the Police Station is shut. The current Government has let down their constituents and the Wellington community by failing to provide a 24-hour Police Station.”

I endeavour to represent each community until a resolution of the public’s satisfaction is established. The current Government has had almost eight years to solve this issue but have meekly accepted the lack of resources.

My intention is to use my position, if elected as a representative for this electorate, to continue to push for this outcome until it is resolved to the satisfaction of both communities. It is simply not good enough to accept that towns the size of Wellington and Narromine should accept less than 24-hour policing. Too often regional areas are told that we need to accept lower levels of service. I will continue to fight for equity and fairness and ensuring that regional areas are given a fair go.

Issues from the Listening Tour

Issues from the Listening Tour

VotE Purple Paper Issue 0: 8 December 2018

Mathew has spent 200 days listening… What has he heard?

Here are the stats so far. 200 days of campaigning. Almost 23,000km travelled. Over 1,000 meetings held. More than half of the localities in the electorate have received a personal knock on the door. Combining the old-fashioned shoe-leather with electronic forms of communication and you gain an impression of the effort being made. More than 8,000 followers on social media channels stay in touch with daily activities plus countless social media interactions; over 3,000 telephone conversations and more than 2,000 e-mails received gives an idea of the energy and accessibility of the potential next State Member.

As Mathew has travelled the width and breadth of this electorate, one thing has been made abundantly clear. People want their voices heard by their elected representatives whom they want to be genuine and authentic.

 

 

ONE THING HAS BEEN MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR. PEOPLE WANT THEIR VOICES HEARD BY THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES WHOM THEY WANT TO BE GENUINE AND AUTHENTIC.

“As I travel the electorate, people often ask me for the common theme across the electorate. The electorate is large: 17,352.89 square kilometres. That is only five per cent smaller in area than the entire country of Fiji! Across such a large area, issues are bound to be different and it has proven to be so. By travelling to all parts of the electorate, I am able to hear what is important to different people in different areas. I have identified a number of issues that are regularly raised by people,” Mathew Dickerson said.“There are some key messages across the electorate but the reality is that Bronwyn in Lue has different needs to Mark in Gin Gin. Peter in Euchareena has needs that are different to Megan in Eumungerie. The electorate is diverse and varied. One size does not fit all but there are some key messages coming through.”

Mathew will maintain his discussions across the electorate to ensure that, if elected, he will be its true representative and ensure its voices are heard loud and clear in State Parliament.

The purpose of VotE Purple Paper Issue 0 is to identify the main issues that Mr Dickerson has heard in his travels. Over the coming months of the election campaign, he will add to this list and will release a series of Purple Papers that drill down into the issues and he will invite public feedback on each of those VotE Purple Papers. In this way, if elected, Mr Dickerson can hit the ground running and be ready from day one with the issues that matter to people in this electorate.

The main issues identified that will be explored in subsequent Purple Papers are listed at the end of this document. These are issues that were noted multiple times by different residents and people that Mr Dickerson met should be able to see issues they discussed in this group. Mr Dickerson will develop specific papers around these issues but still welcomes more feedback as the election draws nearer.

Safety of Residents

  • Crime prevention solutions to keep residents safe.
  • 24-hour policing in required towns and cities.

Power, Mining, Renewables and the Environment

  • Recognition that Climate Change is real and the need to develop relevant long-term strategies.
  • Balance mining income with environmental impacts.
  • Coal Seam Gas – moratorium until further research has been conducted.
  • Power pricing balanced against the future of the environment.
  • Renewable energy strategies and development with recognition of best use of prime agricultural land.

Roads and Transport

  • Road network upgrades to a better standard across the electorate particularly with links to mines.
  • Holistic transport solutions to improve connectivity such as a tunnel under the Mountains.
  • Review freight way (ring road) options for highway traffic in relevant locations.
  • Improve public transport links including rail; air and bus.
  • Work with the Federal Government to review the processes involved with Inland Rail.
  • Look at potential to re-open unused railway lines for regional tourism and transport.
  • Develop a business model for the State to take advantage of Inland Rail.

Agriculture

  • Holistic long-term drought strategies planned in ‘good times’ and a permanent drought coordinator.
  • Equity in the treatment of farmers in relevant drought strategies.
  • Drought strategies for businesses in regional locations.
  • Water management including water allocations and metering methods.
  • Develop education offerings for farmers to improve knowledge in a changing landscape.

Regional Development

  • Improved funding for regional development including Evocities; RDA and Payroll Tax subsidies.
  • Effective decentralisation strategies to improve regional growth.
  • Improvement in regional communication infrastructure both in mobile and Internet.
  • Encourage city residents to move to regional areas before immigration is utilised.
  • Look at unemployment rates in different areas (some high, some low) and associated skills.
  • Look for decentralisation opportunities such as CATOs.

Health

  • Access to city-like health facilities in regional areas.
  • Access to mental health support in regional areas.
  • Complementary rather than competing health facilities in neighbouring cities.

Tourism

  • Look at museums and history across the electorate to preserve our heritage.
  • Develop further tourism offerings particularly in areas with high mining employment.
  • Develop further tourism offerings such as rail trails.

Education

  • Review school and tertiary education offerings in the electorate.
  • Development of better strategies for developing traineeships and apprenticeships.

Government

  • Streamlining grant and funding application processes for individuals; small groups and Councils.
  • Develop strategies to improve communication from government departments and improve transparency so residents better understand decisions.
  • Deliver faster payments to individuals and organisations who have their grants and subsidies approved.

Other

  • Improved sporting fields in smaller communities.
  • Improve business opportunities and CBD growth in smaller communities.