Plenty of stones left unturned

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell addresses the public forum during Dubbo's community cabinet meeting. 
Photo: Belinda Soole
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell addresses the public forum during Dubbo's community cabinet meeting. Photo: Belinda Soole

DUBBO voters will not let go of the ear of government.

Days after the city hosted a community cabinet session its residents have more questions for those in power in NSW.

Dubbo MP Troy Grant's office reported it had already started receiving written questions submitted on forms distributed at Monday's public forum.

Some of the hundreds of people who attended the event bowled their questions to cabinet members for 90 minutes.

Dubbo Health Council chairwoman Elizabeth Allen asked for a written commitment for ongoing funding for the redevelopment of Dubbo Base Hospital.

State coffers have provided $72.7 million of the almost $80 million dedicated to the first and second stages of the project.

Health minister Jillian Skinner said she could assure the community the next stages were high on the priority list, but she stopped short of meeting the health council's demand.

The need for ongoing funding for capital works was well-known, Mrs Skinner said.

It was not the answer Mrs Allen wanted but afterwards she felt there was some gain in appearing at the forum.

"I was gratified in that I felt I had audience support," she said.

"The government now has a written copy of what I asked."

Time beat fellow health council member Fiona Prentice at the forum.

She would have asked the health minister for a commitment to building the necessary services that would be required before Dubbo Base Hospital could offer a special stroke treatment program.

Instead she vowed to send the question in written form.

Some of those who turned out told the Daily Liberal they were interested in what matters came up but had no intention of asking a question.

Linda, a woman from Trangie, afterwards said the forum had covered a number of areas she thought were important.

Among the most important she said, were health and education.

Linda confessed that her "natural feeling" was to doubt what she heard from those in power, but the forum may have changed that.

"My natural feeling is that most politicians are not sincere," she said.

"That feeling has changed here today, not totally, but if they had more of these it would help."

Linda said she would like to see the line-up of ministers come to Dubbo once a year "to get closer to the community".


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