Thank you to the people of Dubbo who turned out in huge numbers yesterday. With at least 650 people present at our Australia Day celebrations, I can confidently say that it was the best attended Australia Day ceremony ever in Dubbo. Yesterday was certainly a day to reflect on what it means to be Australian. To some, it is to live with freedom – both from political and environmental perspectives. To others it is the irreverence that Australians enjoy. Still others believe that Australia is a land of opportunity. For me, I love the laid-back attitude that we enjoy. No matter how serious a situation is, Australians never take themselves too seriously. Whatever makes you proud to be an Australian, whatever it is you love about this nation and our people, whatever you think about Australia – then that is OK! And that is another reason it is great to be an Australian!

The feedback from our audience yesterday was that our celebrations were perfectly planned. The Dubbo and District Concert Band played entertaining music; our Australia Day Ambassador, Peter Hadfield OAM, spoke very well and filled us with pride; the six award-winners were acknowledged as very deserving winners; the new award added to our list – for the Cultural Person of the Year – was well-received and we now have 24 new Aussie citizens amongst our midst. The entertainment and demonstrations after the event were well supported and there was a cheerful vibe throughout the entire audience. Thank you to all of our hard-working staff and the various volunteers and organisations that participated in the event.

With nine Councillors in attendance yesterday along with a huge audience, I would have loved our State Member, Deputy Premier the Hon. Troy Grant MP, to be in attendance to see the community spirit that we have in Dubbo and see what is being put at risk with the current merger proposal. That is not to say that Wellington didn’t have wonderful celebrations as well. But Wellington is Wellington and Dubbo is Dubbo and both areas celebrated Australia Day in their own way – because both areas are different.

That is where we need help from the same people power that we saw yesterday. People power is all we have left to save Dubbo. The public meetings are being held at Club Dubbo on 4 February but you need to register by this Friday to attend the meeting. I urge everyone to register and attend one of the two public meetings next week. #NoDubbington

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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