Every newcomer to this city is urged by mayor Mathew Dickerson to take a breather out of their busy day and come along to the New Year, New Residents Night on Wednesday, February 15 at the Old Dubbo Gaol.
(min cost $8)
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"It's our way of saying welcome if you've recently moved to Dubbo and haven't been to our previous New Residents' Night," Councillor Dickerson said.
"It's pretty daunting when you've just moved into your new community that's why we're here to tell people we're here to help you in your transition."
On Australia Day last week, Clr Dickerson, on behalf of the entire community, welcomed 49 locals from around the world who formally became citizens, and most of them previously attended the new residents' night.
The city has an estimated 55,400 residents as of last year's Australian Bureau of Statistics count, growing incrementally and consistently and by 2036, projections are 60,904 people of all ages with a median age of 37 will make this inland metropolitan centre their home.
As the current chair of the Regional Cities NSW (RCNSW), an alliance of 16 regional centres such as Orange, Bathurst, Tamworth, Armidale, and Lismore, Clr Dickerson said he has a mammoth task ahead to ensure all levels of government and their planning bodies are accurately picturing the growth of regional cities such as Dubbo.
An accurate picture of growing cities by all levels of government would mean "we would have better schools built, hospitals, more infrastructure and services to get better outcomes for our regional cities".
At the local government level, Clr Dickerson said councils such as Dubbo also need to get accurate projections of the area it is looking after, and it does not mean councils will only be in charge of imposing rates from residents, collecting rubbish, and maintaining safe local roads.
"There's an upcoming state election and we want to gain some advantage, particularly in the planning aspects so that the state's planning department gets a correct set of data [about our city] to help us plan for future schools, hospitals, and infrastructure," Clr Dickerson said.
The city has a lot to plan for, according to Clr Dickerson, with an estimated 150 acres of recreational areas and public places such as parks, sporting fields, and picnic grounds, as well as making available housing areas to meet the demand.
There are 5,217 business entities providing nearly 27,000 jobs making up at least $8 billion in annual turnover from their agriculture, mining, and health industries, thus keeping the city's economy and workforce competitive is crucial.
Rallying for the 16 regional centres that are always growing, Clr Dickerson has recently called on the state government to make them the "centrepiece of the state's recovery budget" following the difficulties these regional centres faced after bouts of drought, flood, mice plague, and pandemic.
"Growth has to be sustainable and it's important that we address the tree change-induced pressure points in our regional cities and plan for the future," Clr Dickerson said in his inaugural statement as new RCNSW chair to NSW treasurer Matt Kean.
"Housing availability, transport, digital infrastructure and creating jobs are on top of the agenda for regional cities," he said in his letter to Mr Kean.
"The people of Australia have voted with their feet and flocked to NSW tree change and seachange destinations the government needs to match that trend and ensure the dollars flow in the same direction by funding the right infrastructure for our regional cities."
The RCNSW has proposed to the NSW government to prioritise population planning and liveability funding, regional housing, a continuation of build-to-rent measures, expand regional job precincts, create digitally smart regional cities, fix the black spots across regions, renewable energy infrastructure, and faster and modern regional public transport.
Clr Dickerson said Infrastructure Australia has pointed to a 200 per cent increase in net growth in regional cities in NSW since the pandemic spurred migration to regional centres therefore they deserve to be at the forefront of planning and development.
But when the new residents to the city meet him and his team at the council, Clr Dickerson said he'd tell them personally why Dubbo is a great place to live, work and raise a family based on the plans the council has for them.
"When I was growing up, I saw this city as a large country town, now it's a thriving regional city that is modern and thriving. You can enjoy many things here, movies, theatres, sporting facilities, good educational institutions, and much more.
"I used to come home [from Sydney during university breaks] and catch the overnight train always looking forward to coming home for the holidays.
"I did work in Sydney for some time but it wasn't a long-term option for me, it was to live here at home in Dubbo."
To find out more about the New Year, New Residents Night and confirm your attendance, click here.
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