Thank you to the people of Dubbo for turning up in numbers last Thursday. That was the day, of course, that the State Government held public meetings in Dubbo and Wellington in relation to the proposal to amalgamate the two Council areas. There were 165 people at the Wellington meeting and 281 people across the two Dubbo meetings. By my count, 28 people spoke at the Wellington meeting with only 4 speaking in favour of amalgamation and coincidentally 28 people spoke at the Dubbo meetings with only 2 people speaking in favour of amalgamation. It was interesting to note that at the first of the Dubbo meetings – where all speakers were against amalgamation – one of the speakers asked for a show of hands to see who was against amalgamation. I didn’t see anyone without a hand raised and many had both hands raised. You can view the presentation I delivered on Thursday at http://tinyurl.com/DubbingtonPreso but don’t assume that is the end. I still have one more request of you. It is critical that as many people as possible lodge a submission to try and stop the amalgamation. You can visit http://tinyurl.com/DubbingtonSubmission to lodge your submission with submissions closing on 28 February. Dubbo’s future is in your hands.
With all of the claims from the State Government of amalgamations driving down rates and helping with the ‘scale and capacity’ (read population growth) of Councils, it was with interest that I read the recent IPART Applications and Determinations for Special Rate Variations from Councils across the State.
Clarence Valley Council (CVC) is often held out as a shining beacon of success in the pro-amalgamation camp. If this is what success looks like, I am scared to see what form an unsuccessful merged Council takes. CVC have just applied for a 37.01% rate increase over five years. The application explains that the huge hike in rates will be “specifically used to repair Council roads and road-related infrastructure, including bridges, culverts and drains.” Add to this the fact that the major population centres in CVC of Grafton and Maclean have gone down in population by 4.5 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively from 2001 to 2011. Furthermore CVC was declared as NOT FIT by IPART. There are many more examples of previously amalgamated Councils performing poorly so I am struggling to understand the logic of the State Government recommending a merger between Dubbo and Wellington.
Once again that is where we need your support. People power is needed to win the day – and with the community support we have in this city, I believe we can do it. #NoDubbington
Councillor Mathew Dickerson
Mayor of the City of Dubbo