Former Dubbo mayors call for plebiscite on Dubbo and Wellington merger | Video, poll

Truth time: Former mayors Allan Smith, Mathew Dickerson and Greg Matthews (not pictured) are calling on Dubbo Regional Council to hold a plebiscite. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Truth time: Former mayors Allan Smith, Mathew Dickerson and Greg Matthews (not pictured) are calling on Dubbo Regional Council to hold a plebiscite. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Three former mayors of Dubbo have called on Dubbo Regional Council administrator Michael Kneipp to hold a plebiscite on amalgamation between Dubbo and Wellington.

When residents of Dubbo, Wellington and smaller communities in the new council area go to the polls on September 9, Allan Smith, Mathew Dickerson and Greg Matthews want residents to also say what they think of the amalgamation.

The trio said it would be the most effective way of gauging what everyone in the local government area thought of the merger and deciding whether to consider a de-amalgamation. 

They argued the coast of running the plebiscite, if done with the election would be minimal, and a sign of democracy at work.

“I would say to anyone who opposes the idea ‘what are you afraid of?’,” Mr Smith said.

“If you are so confident the community supports the amalgamation, holding a plebiscite will back it up.”

Mr Dickerson said the former councillors had considered the idea of a plebiscite or survey but they were sacked before they had a chance to organise it. He said Mr Kneipp could make the call.

“The administrator has the same power as a council so he can make that decision and we could have a plebiscite,” he said.

“We’ve had almost a year and a half to see what it’s like and what a great chance for people to say ‘yes we like it’ or ‘no we don’t’.”

Mr Matthews said holding a plebiscite would give a firm indication of whether people had accepted the amalgamation or wanted it undone.

“If we were to do it, we might find people have decided they like it and that’s fine, or we might find the majority are still unhappy,” he said.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, DRC administrator Michael Kneipp said council would not entertain the idea of a plebiscite.