STAY AWAY FROM HERE

A FAMILY looking to relocate from Ireland to Dubbo for work and lifestyle purposes has been given an unflattering appraisal of our city.

Using a social media website, they sought opinions on life in the central west but the respondents, who were not from Dubbo, offered misinformation based on what they had heard, read or seen on short visits.

The comments suggested that Dubbo is still struggling to present a positive image to the rest of the country. One poster said: “As somebody who lives in Australia I would not want to live in Dubbo, out of the 50 regions in the state of NSW, it’s in the top ten for crime rates.’’

Another contributor said: “The crime rate from Aboriginals is a bit high, but this might depend on what part of Dubbo you are in.

“Going to a private school in Dubbo is probably a good idea, then you are away from the Aboriginal problem in the area.’’

Another poster commented that she had heard there were many opportunities but the summer was “dreadful” and the Aboriginal crime problem would require the family to be vigilant.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo received a thumbs up as well as the Macquarie River, while one poster said house prices in a nice area were around $400,000 and stated rentals “would not be cheap’’.

Regional Development Australia Chairman John Walkom was concerned enough after hearing about the comments to jump online and spruik the benefits of Dubbo himself.

He also set the record straight by noting the median house price was $250,000. Other pro-Dubbo folk have since followed suit by highlighting the cities benefits like the cycleways, the Western Plains Cultural Centre, and the quality of public school education in the city.

When asked if Dubbo’s image suffered outside the region, Mr Walkom said: “With 42,000 people in the city only a small percentage of people do the wrong thing and give the town a bad name.

“With social media you can never rest on your laurels, you’ve got to be on your game with promoting the city."

He also cited the success of the Evocities initiative to attract families to Dubbo.

Mayor Mathew Dickerson reiterated this, adding that while the comments were disappointing, it was up to the people of Dubbo to counteract them.

“We all have to be strong advocates for our city and then we’ll see a lot less negative talk,” he said.

“There are 42,000 people who live here by choice, there’s no fence around the city.’’

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said: “It’s disappointing that these unflattering stereotypes of Dubbo still persist given that local people have gone to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate what a vibrant and pleasurable place it is to live.’’

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) revealed Dubbo crime statistics for the five years to December 2011 were comparable to other regional centres of a similar size within the state.

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