With the Mayoral election being held tomorrow, this may well be my last column as Mayor. Although I know that I have put 110 per cent into the role and I believe that I have met my number one criteria for the position (leaving the city in a better state after my time in the role) it was timely to have the State of the City report delivery last Friday to put some numbers on where the City currently sits.

Our population has grown by 1.4 per cent to now be at 41,573 and our unemployment has gone down to 4 per cent – much better than the State figure of 6 per cent. Our visitor numbers continue to grow with an increase of 29 per cent in annual overnight visitors to 523,000 and our annual day visits have gone up 22 per cent to 556,000. Our Zoo is obviously a major drawcard every day of the year but Dubbo certainly has a lot of other facilities to attract people.

The State of the City report is a ‘warts and all’ report card so not just the good news is reported. I would like to see crime decreasing dramatically. We had an up and down report card with crime. Malicious damage went up 11.6 per cent but steal from motor vehicle and assault went down 3.3 per cent and 13.8 per cent respectively. Our airport is one of our star performers. 188,907 passengers went through our airport last year – an increase of 1.45 per cent. The average for regional airports across the nation is a decrease in passengers of 1.9 per cent. We now have 158 flights per week servicing four ports and, with the announcement made yesterday, we will shortly have 168 RPT flights each week including services to Melbourne and Brisbane.

Investment opportunities are good with the median house price rising 5 per cent to $320,000 and the median unit price rose 8 per cent to $240,000. Not only did we have an increase in Development Applications by 10 per cent to 769 – with a total value of $180.3 million – we also had our highest number of dwelling approvals in ten years. We have had many major projects such as DCL Park and upgrades to the DRLM – many with help from both State and Federal Governments – and these help inject further money into our community.

There were three survey statistics that I found most pleasing though. From our just completed Community Needs Survey, satisfaction levels were gauged from our community. 69 per cent are satisfied with the performance of Councillors. This is up by 2 per cent from the previous survey in 2013 and up from 40 per cent in the previous survey undertaken before I was Mayor. 82 per cent of our residents are satisfied with overall operations of Council which is up by 11 per cent and again a massive jump from the 53 per cent in the previous survey. Lastly, I have focussed on communication in my time as Mayor. 93 per cent of our community says that they are satisfied with opportunities to have a say on Council issues. This is up by 7 per cent and again a large jump from the previous survey results of 74 per cent.

These figures are only a small snapshot of the total sample – you can see the entire State of the City Report on YouTube – but I certainly feel proud of how our City is performing right now and I feel that both myself and this Council team has had a large bearing on these positive results.

Hopefully I will be writing this column again next week as your Mayor so I can continue building on this excellent platform.

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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