Mayor Shields’ speech, part 5

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can rest as­sured I will do my ab­so­lute best, within my le­gal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, to ei­ther fix or at least re­duce the bur­den of this rad­i­cal new bin sys­tem.

22. Demo­cratic Re­view Com­mit­tee

In fur­ther re­gard to my dis­ap­point­ment on the di­rec­tion of Coun­cil un­der the long ad­min­is­tra­tion pe­riod, I will soon be mov­ing for the cre­ation of a Demo­cratic Re­view Com­mit­tee. The fact re­mains that both Welling­ton and Dubbo have had demo­cratic scru­tiny and rep­re­sen­ta­tion for at least 160 years – un­bro­ken un­til re­cently.

I be­lieve the 17 months of un­elected rule is by any mea­sure a scan­dal that will be right­fully judged harshly in the his­tory books about our re­gion.

We owe it to our com­mu­nity to es­tab­lish a com­mit­tee that over time goes through the agen­das, re­ports and min­utes of all de­ci­sions made by the Ad­min­is­tra­tor.

This com­mit­tee is not in any way a re­flec­tion per­son­ally on the former Ad­min­is­tra­tor. It’s a pol­icy re­view. That’s not to say we should over­turn every de­ci­sion he made. It is sim­ply a mech­a­nism for demo­crat­i­cally-elected Coun­cil­lors to make sure the poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and de­ci­sions made are in the best in­ter­est of the com­mu­nity.

23. State and Fed­eral Members

The first task for me (as Mayor) is to ar­range a meet­ing with Troy Grant. Mr Grant has been very suc­cess­ful in get­ting a num­ber of fi­nan­cial grants to our re­gion. In or­der for this Coun­cil to con­tinue to se­cure the right grants and di­rect the grant fund­ing to the most needed ar­eas, I in­tend on hav­ing a very close work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Mr Grant.

Along­side ar­rang­ing a meet­ing with Mr Grant, it is also just as im­por­tant to meet our Fed­eral members, Mark Coul­ton and An­drew Gee. Mr Coul­ton’s elec­torate cov­ers Dubbo and Mr Gee’s elec­torate cov­ers Welling­ton. A work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will be vi­tal to the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of the Coun­cil.

We are very lucky in this area of NSW where the three men who rep­re­sent us in the State and Fed­eral par­lia­ment share Coun­cil’s view of con­tin­ued sus­tain­able growth while push­ing for our re­gion’s fair share of in­vest­ment.

24. Clos­ing

Coun­cil­lors, we have a huge job ahead of us. The com­mu­nity is de­pend­ing on us. The only way we will be suc­cess­ful is for us to have open com­mu­ni­ca­tion with one an­other and to work as a solid, united team. The next three years will be ex­tremely chal­leng­ing. So my com­mit­ment now as the Mayor is to al­ways be open, hon­est, re­spect­ful and ac­ces­si­ble to all Coun­cil­lors.

In clos­ing, again, I would sin­cerely like to thank my friends and fam­ily, par­tic­u­larly my mum, dad and part­ner for their on­go­ing sup­port.

I would lastly like to thank the peo­ple of Dubbo for their trust. They elected me as a teenager and I have in some ways grown up in their eyes. Like all peo­ple, I have made mis­takes, but this com­mu­nity has kept elect­ing me and putting their trust in me and I am grate­ful for it. I know there is a range of opin­ions about me in this city and can I say the last two weeks have well and truly brought that home.

Some­times when I meet peo­ple in Dubbo for the first time, they tell me I am not quite what they ex­pected. It was the great Nel­son Man­dela who said, ‘There is noth­ing like re­turn­ing to a place that re­mains un­changed to find the ways in which you your­self have al­tered’. Well, I have never left Dubbo, but I sure am not the same per­son I was when I at­tended my first Coun­cil meet­ing the night be­fore my HSC.

Over the next two years, I in­tend to grow even more as a per­son through serv­ing this com­mu­nity as Mayor. This po­si­tion that I have been elected to is some­thing I am go­ing to live and breathe. I will per­form the role full-time and I am sin­cere when I say that as Mayor my po­si­tion will be to serve ev­ery­one in our re­gion – no mat­ter what po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion they may be and no mat­ter what they think of me.

It is my sin­cere hope that in this role as the first Mayor of the Dubbo re­gion, I can help cre­ate a united Coun­cil driven on good­will, growth and con­sen­sus.


Mayor of Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil, Ben Shields.

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