I am currently sitting in chilly Canberra (5°C last night) attending the annual National General Assembly which is a gathering of all 565 Councils from across the nation. This is an opportunity to hear from our Federal politicians (such as Warren Truss; Bill Shorten and Richard Di Natale) and from national leaders (such as current Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty) and from a number of people involved in Local Government across Australia and even representatives from New Zealand. As at any conference, there are two possible outcomes. Firstly, by listening to presentations from specialists in various fields, additional ideas can be generated for a local Council or current methods can be confirmed as best practice. I certainly found some interesting points in presentations involving methods of creating cities that are more ‘liveable’ and how they might apply to Dubbo. I also saw common points in what we currently do in presentations that discussed methods to engage the community in consultations. With more than 500 submissions in Dubbo’s ‘Ignite the Centre’ consultation I was able to talk about our submission process using a simple hashtag which I still believe this to be unique in the nation.

Secondly, it is important to discuss issues of significance with Councils from across the nation. Councils often have similar issues to each other but I typically find the solutions vary dramatically. Discussing ideas with random Mayors and General Managers from across the nation while at morning tea or meal times is essential in improving all Councils across the nation. I have had discussions around festivals and organics bins and workshop processes and many more items with Councils from all over the country.

I will be returning to Dubbo this evening which will allow me to be in Dubbo before tomorrow night when the Dubbo Chamber of Commerce will launch the Rhinos for this year. In September this year, the Chamber will announce their Gold Rhino winner for the twenty first time. These business awards were re-launched in 1995 under the Rhinos banner and they have been spectacularly successful. As a winner of the Gold Rhino myself in 2000, I know full well the difference it can make to a business when it is acknowledged as the best in our community. The increase in staff morale and the exposure in the marketplace is incredible. I look forward with anticipation to another wonderful Rhinos event.

The next race in the Evocities MTB Series will be held in Albury this weekend. I encourage all mountain bikers to participate and be involved in this series. Next stop after Albury is Dubbo.

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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