On 19 October 2014 I had the pleasure of being at the Arts and Edges summit in Kalgoorlie-Boulder to make the public announcement that Dubbo will host the next biennial regional arts conference. The will be the first time in 14 years that NSW will host this conference.

Fast forward 508 days of hard work by Regional Arts NSW and many related organisations and individuals and last week I had my chance to stand on stage at the Sydney Opera House. You would be surprised to hear that I wasn’t standing on stage for my singing but instead I had the opportunity to stand with Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Troy Grant MP, and officially launch Artlands 2016. This part conference, part festival will consume Dubbo from 27-30 October this year but, more importantly, the thousand people that come to the conference will visit Dubbo as well as the region for many more days than just the four days of the conference. At our current figure of $152 per person per night I would expect an injection into our economy of over three quarters of a million dollars but the region should experience an injection of over $1.2 million. Keep an eye out for activities as the date draws nearer.

Way back when I attended the University of Sydney the medical degree was in the process of changing from a five year to a six year undergraduate degree. It has now changed further and is offered as a four year postgraduate degree. There are over 200 students in each year of the degree and students in Years 3 and 4 are offered the option of completing that year at a location outside of Sydney. The options include Dubbo; Orange; Lismore; Broken Hill and more. As a result of this we have thirty two students in Dubbo, split equally between the two years, who attend the University of Sydney School of Rural Health.

When I first became Mayor I was incredibly disappointed to hear that Dubbo was undersubscribed for students in the previous year meaning that some students were in Dubbo when it was not their first choice. I wanted to change this to the point where Dubbo was oversubscribed. On 10 March 2012 I attended my first function of the Discovery Bus Tour where I had the chance to ‘sell’ Dubbo to the students. I have spoken to the touring group of students every year since and next Monday I will again have the chance to sell Dubbo to this group. Dubbo is now well and truly oversubscribed and the welcome that our residents give students when they do move here certainly helps our reputation grow.

The Evocities MTB Series for 2016 is less than five weeks away. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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