Mayor un­de­terred with dead­line loom­ing

Dubbo Photo News - - News. - BY YVETTE AUBUSSONFOLEY

DUBBO’S Mayor Mathew Dick­er­son re­mains un­de­terred by the loom­ing dead­line for reg­is­tra­tions to pub­lic in­quiries into the pro­posed merger be­tween Dubbo and Welling­ton coun­cils.

He’s en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to go ahead and at­tend the meet­ings in early Fe­bru­ary even if they miss to­day’s noon dead­line.

“I would en­cour­age peo­ple to just to turn up,” he said as the dead­line of Fri­day, Jan­uary 29 ar­rived for peo­ple to reg­is­ter for the Fe­bru­ary 4 pub­lic en­quiry.

“How em­bar­rass­ing for peo­ple think­ing they live in a democ­racy and who want to have their say, to turn up and then be turned away. They’d have to ask “What sort of a democ­racy is this?” Hope­fully they won’t be turned away.”

Dick­er­son cites poor pub­lic­ity by the state govern­ment about the pub­lic in­quiry as one rea­son res­i­dents may learn of the reg­is­tra­tion dead­line af­ter it has passed.

“They’ve put one ad in the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald and I saw one ad in yes­ter­day’s [Jan­uary 25] pa­per but it didn’t look like an ad­vert, so we’ve started ad­ver­tis­ing,” he said.

A no­tice that ap­peared in the Welling­ton Times and is avail­able for down­load on the Coun­cil Bound­aries Re­view web­site, draws at­ten­tion to de­tails for the pub­lic in­quiry ses­sions in Dubbo and Welling­ton.

“Pur­suant to sec­tion 745 of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act 1993 the Act­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Of­fice of Lo­cal Govern­ment has del­e­gated to me the ex­am­i­na­tion and re­port­ing func­tions un­der sec­tion 218F of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act,” the no­tice reads.

The “me” refers to del­e­gate Ian Ti­ley who will pre­side over the merger pro­posal pub­lic in­quiries for Welling­ton and Dubbo.

Ac­cord­ing to the Coun­cil Bound­ary Re­view the “del­e­gates are not an ad­vo­cate for the pro­posal. Their role is to ex­am­ine and re­port on the pro­posal in line with the re­quire­ment of the Lo­cal Govern­ment Act 1993”.

How­ever, Ti­ley is the au­thor of a 2012 book, “Di­vided We Fall: An In­sider’s Per­spec­tive on Lo­cal Govern­ment Amal­ga­ma­tions”; de­scribed by on­line book­store, Ama­zon, thus: “Based on de­tailed re­search, this long term lo­cal govern­ment ‘in­sider’ per­spec­tive will be of value to all those in­ter­ested in driv­ing change through lo­cal govern­ment re­form.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dick­er­son, coun­cil was told by the state govern­ment that it was the del­e­gate run­ning the process.

“So we said to the del­e­gate, great, put the meet­ing back, change this … but the govern­ment said no, so it’s not the del­e­gate run­ning the process, it’s the state govern­ment run­ning the process.”

Pub­lic in­quiry rules re­quire mem­bers of the pub­lic wish­ing to speak to reg­is­ter their in­tent to do so by 12-noon to­day, Jan­uary 29. How­ever no guar­an­tees are of­fered. The del­e­gate will de­ter­mine the or­der of speak­ers.

“I’ll speak but I’m only al­lowed to speak once. There’s two ses­sions but I’m only al­lowed to speak at one of the ses­sions,” said Dick­er­son.

“That’s their rules. It’s not been run by us; it’s run by the state govern­ment. I said I wanted to go to the Welling­ton one as well and wanted to speak there, but they said, no you can’t. There are three pub­lic in­quiries but you can only speak once.

“Log­i­cally, not many peo­ple are go­ing to be able to talk. Let’s say they gave five min­utes to each per­son, which I think may not be enough time, but let’s say you gave five min­utes, then you only have 12 peo­ple in an hour.

“The first ses­sion’s two hours so you have 24 peo­ple. The next ses­sion is three hours, so you have 36 peo­ple.

“That’s as­sum­ing ev­ery­one is tight with their time and they switch over per­son to per­son, so you’re talk­ing about maybe they’re al­low­ing 60 peo­ple to speak.”

Two ses­sions will be con­ducted in Dubbo, on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 4 at 3pm and 7pm re­spec­tively at Club Dubbo, but Dick­er­son has con­cerns about the venue’s suit­abil­ity.

“I’m not be­ing harsh on Club Dubbo but it’s on the out­skirts of Dubbo with just 150 seats.

“The first thing I would like to see right now is to get as many peo­ple along as pos­si­ble. Turn up. It’s a democ­racy we live in. Even just turn up to lis­ten. We’re not say­ing to peo­ple turn up to talk but at least turn up to lis­ten.”

Res­i­dents against, or for, the pro­posed merger be­tween Dubbo City Coun­cil and Welling­ton

The first thing I would like to see right now is to get as many peo­ple along as pos­si­ble. Turn up. It’s a democ­racy we live in. Even just turn up to lis­ten.” – Dubbo Mayor, Mathew Dick­er­son

Coun­cil have un­til 12 noon to­day, Fri­day, Jan­uary 29, to reg­is­ter their in­tent to at­tend.

On­line reg­is­tra­tions can be done at the www.coun­cil­bound­aryre­view.nsw.gov.au web­site or by tele­phone 1300 813 020.

How­ever, at­tempts by Dubbo Week­ender to phone the 1300 num­ber three con­sec­u­tive times re­sulted in each call be­ing put on hold for one minute then dis­con­nected.

De­tails on the pro­pos­als, del­e­gates and the con­sul­ta­tion process can be found at http:// www.coun­cil­bound­aryre­view. nsw.gov.au.

The clos­ing date for writ­ten sub­mis­sions is 5pm EST, Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 28, 2016. Sub­mis­sions can be made on­line at www.coun­cil­bound­aryre­view. nsw.gov.au or by mail to GPO Box 5341 Syd­ney NSW 2001.

Dubbo Week­ender chose not to try to con­tact Mem­ber for Dubbo Troy Grant, who is on leave fol­low­ing a fam­ily tragedy, but will seek his com­ment upon his re­turn.

The govern­ment’s pro­posed amal­ga­ma­tions, which will go be­fore the Bound­aries Com­mis­sion, could cut coun­cils state wide from 152 to 112, and from 43 to 25 in Syd­ney.

Lo­cal Govern­ment NSW’S chief ex­ec­u­tive Donna Ry­gate briefed rep­re­sen­ta­tives from re­gional coun­cils in Dubbo on Jan­uary 22, at a Re­spond­ing to Merger Pro­pos­als work­shop to dis­cuss the re­form process, leg­is­la­tion, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment strate­gies and fac­tors in the Act.

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