Councils across the State bear a huge and often unfair burden – community expectations. In my experience members of a community, particularly in regional areas, turn to their local Council for a range of solutions that are well outside any semblance of control for the said Council. Councils regularly receive requests for a range of items: street lights that need fixing; increased Police presence; requests for better hospital facilities; more Doctors to service the population; requests for additional weather radars; solutions for youth issues; better educational outcomes for schools; additional shops or specific businesses to open in a certain area; a reduction in littering; better water management through our Dams; etc. You get the picture. All of these are obviously outside the control of Council but the general person on the street doesn’t care. They see an issue and they want someone to fix it. Councils just happen to be one of the closest forms of government that most people are aware of so they turn to their local Council to have their problems solved.

What is interesting in a scenario such as this is that, despite the fact that Councils can’t actually directly control items such as those mentioned, Councils often try and influence outcomes for the betterment of the community. It is true that State Governments, in the main, fund and run hospitals but many times Councils perform work in justifying the need to spend more money on hospitals and lobby their local members for additional money to be expended. Businesses are approached to move to a Local Government Area (LGA) and energy providers are contacted to try and achieve better service levels. There are multiple examples of Councils trying to influence outcomes beyond their control and it comes from the passion that seems to exist for an LGA by the people directly involved in Council.

With the setup of this premise, I actually want to try and have my cake and eat it too. While we lobby, contact, discuss and approach various organisations without any absolute certainty of influencing the outcomes, we therefore absolve a Council from any of the negatives. With my scenario, I want to try and take full credit for all of the positives that occur in a community.

One of the aspects that is critical to the success of these items that aren’t directly influenced is a positive culture and a high morale in a Council and in a City. While I accept that this all sounds a little esoteric, I truly believe a positive culture across a City can deliver significant positive benefits.

I want to drill down a little further and have a look at the current situation in Dubbo. We have a very positive culture and a strong, unified leadership group at Council with the current group of Councillors and executive staff. It may sound like I am stretching it too far, but the pride in our City – which starts with the leaders in our Council – flows through to many levels. Look at sport for example. The positive City pride we are currently witnessing has flowed onto the sporting fields. After the latest series of Grand Finals, we now have an impressive array of premiership winners. Dubbo CYMS in Rugby League; Dubbo Rhinos and Dubbo Kangaroos in Rugby Union; Dubbo Rhinos Pink in Female Rugby Union; Dubbo FC in both the Men’s and Women’s Dubbo and District Football Association, along with Dubbo City Rangers in Women’s 2nd division. There are more examples of Dubbo teams winning their competitions but the above examples are the main ones playing mostly in inter-town competitions. I know you are thinking I am drawing a long bow – and I admit I probably am – but passion, pride and enthusiasm for your team will win more competitions then sheer talent alone.

We can stretch to more obvious examples in the business world. I attended the reopening of Reading Cinemas last week and I received a hearty handshake and thank you from one of the Managers present. Even though ultimately it was up to Readings and Charter Hall to negotiate a commercial arrangement that was viable for both businesses, he mentioned that the phone call that I made to the two parties – and the passion of the people of Dubbo to see Readings remain – restarted negotiation and ultimately led to a new deal being inked. Similarly with the ALDI opening this week. We can’t make any business decide to build a premises and start operating from Dubbo. Despite that fact, ALDI thanked our Council this week for strongly encouraging them to consider Dubbo – despite their transport logistics problems – and our community was very positive in support of ALDI opening in our City. Again there are many examples of a positive community and positive Council resulting in great outcomes for the City. The Country V City match earlier this year was definitely one. So is the NBN progression into Dubbo. I am sure you can think of many more.

The great part is that we can all help Dubbo move forward. By being positive and always talking about the many positives Dubbo has to offer, we can all help create a positive perception of growth in the City. And the great thing about perception is that, for all intents and purposes, it looks a lot like reality.

Tell me if you think I have lost the plot or if pride in our City from Council and our residents can make a difference to outcomes in Dubbo at



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