After several years of local government reform and meetings; discussions; forums; reviews and panel discussions, today marks the final day allowed by the State Government to state a Council’s final position in relation to amalgamation options. The Web based form gave a Council three options for merge partners and then to give final support for a Council’s position, a maximum of fifty words has been allowed to state why a Council has a certain position. For such an important step in the life of a Council, it may seem flippant of the State Government to only allow fifty words but keep in mind that this is the final step. We have previously submitted a 111 page document to IPART to address – in detail – the seven criteria that the State Government asked to be addressed. This final step is designed for Councils to state their position succinctly and be very clear with their direction.

As it turned out, we only used forty eight of our available fifty words. For the record, our submission – as resolved at Council on Monday night – will include the following words:

“Dubbo resolved 16/11/2015 that as an IPART assessed FFTF Council, it would stand alone and participate in an Orana JO. Neither Council/Community sees benefit in merging with Narromine/Wellington. Dubbo has discussed this position with Narromine/Wellington who concur. The Councils propose further shared services e.g. additional to Library/Water Alliance.”

Dubbo has met the seven criteria and we have been declared fit. After our community consultation and further discussions with the State Government and Council staff and Councillors, we have unanimously resolved our position. We have done all we can do and I think we are in a very strong position. It will now be up to the State Government to make decisions on what they wish to do across the State. I am obviously focused on Dubbo but there are another 151 Councils that the State Government must concern themselves with.

For what it is worth, I believe Dubbo will be left to stand alone. We have been able to address all the questions asked of us and we have had strong support from our local Member Troy Grant, who also happens to be the Deputy Premier. Our latest Community Needs Survey shows that our community has never been happier with Council and our economic position is very strong. Our latest State of the City report showed Dubbo in a very positive light. All of that leads me to believe that this State Government will take the view with Dubbo that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Councillor Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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