You may have noticed some Chinese visitors around Dubbo or at some of the schools in Dubbo over the last week. We had some visitors from our Chinese sister-city, Wujiang, and they had an educational and thoroughly entertaining time in Dubbo. I am sure the highlight of their visit was their attendance at the DRTCC to see the Dubbo Theatre Company’s brilliant production of Fawlty Towers. I am not convinced the subtly of the brilliant script translated fully but a pie in the face is funny in any language so our visitors were very impressed with the physical humour in the show.

The theatre has added so much to our cultural landscape in the five years it has been open. Emeritus Mayor Allan Smith cut the cake last week to celebrate five years since the opening and a summary of the numbers is impressive. We have had 376,767 visitors to the theatre; 483 shows with 103 sold out performances and an average attendance of 63 per cent (5 per cent above industry average); 34 percent of ticket sales go to people outside Dubbo and we have had performers of the calibre of Julie Anthony; John Wood; Guy Sebastian; David Campbell and many more. The theatre continues to make a significant contribution to our city.

I had the chance to see our Federal Member for Parkes, the Hon Mark Coulton, several times last week. Mark was good enough to attend our Citizenship Ceremony – where I racked up my 309th new citizen – and then he joined Council and Deputy Premier, the Hon Troy Grant, at our Community Leaders’ Breakfast on Saturday morning. Despite the cold weather, we had a good attendance and the ideas and comments were flowing.

I have just taken over as Chair of the Evocities Steering Committee (effective from 1 July) and today I am attending my first committee meeting. I am keen to see the program continue and I want to help drive the program further into the hearts and minds of people in the Sydney region. I have also been speaking with the Minister for Regional Development, the Hon John Barilaro MP, about the possibility of further funding and I am hopeful of a positive outcome.

I have been talking more and more about the idea of a tunnel under the Blue Mountains to connect Sydney to our region and I have done a desktop costing model of this. The numbers stack up for me but I was contacted by motoring expert, Will Hagon, as he stumbled across one of my articles and he is keen to see how he can help as he is a supporter of the idea as well. Tell me if you would like to see a tunnel under the Blue Mountains connecting Lithgow to Penrith.

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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