With minister Shelley Hancock announcing the local government elections have now been postponed until December 4, it gives a little more time for potential candidates to consider running for council.
Now seems like a good time to reflect on some of the work council candidates can achieve. When councillors first came into the role, the organisation was still very much in the process of bringing together the former Dubbo city and Wellington councils.
Despite the challenge of the merger, council wasted no time setting an agenda and working to achieve its goals.
Council committed to social issues such as the establishment of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre and drug court for Dubbo.
I know this has been impactful and other councils are looking to our advocacy model for inspiration.
We also committed to expanding on $1m provided by the NSW Government for a Wiradjuri tourism project and this resulted in the construction of Wiradjuri Garden, which was opened recently, and the Wiradjuri Tourism Centre, which will be constructed on the Gardens site and will house sacred Aboriginal carved trees.
The environment was another important focus with the addition of new gross pollutant traps. This has ensured more rubbish is removed from stormwater before it goes back into our precious Macquarie River.
It is important to note that many of the major projects council has been able to complete have come through funding from the state and federal governments.
Since the merger the state government has been particularly generous and tens of millions of dollars-worth of work has been carried out. I want to acknowledge Troy Grant, Dugald Saunders, Mark Coulton and Andrew Gee.
This has included major infrastructure projects in Dubbo such as the Dubbo Regional Cycling Facility, Adventure Playground, and at Wellington the new Aquatic Leisure Centre, the Wellington Caves upgrade and Cameron Park playground.
A key challenge for the incoming council will be making sure the organisation remains on a financially sustainable path in maintaining all these new assets.
Councillors have contributed many ideas. Each one has brought their own passions and projects they have wanted to achieve. Projects achieved from individual councillor initiatives have included the Dubbo Showground upgrade project, the Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre master plan, neighbourhood shopping centre beautification, the NRL game in Dubbo, funding of the River Repair Bus, better farming practises and new opportunities to boost the region's tourism.
Councillors Anne Jones and David Grant deserve special mention in our merged council. They have been the tireless campaigners for Wellington, ensuring residents there are well looked after and have always pushed council to ensure the town gets its share. Wellington's revitalisation is a credit to them both.
I think it is well-known that my focus was on social justice and seeing the government commit to both a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre and a drug court has been very rewarding.
I am confident that despite the challenges of COVID and continuing recovery from the long-lasting drought, Dubbo Regional Council is in good shape for the next council.