COUNCIL WATCH Dubbo to join advocacy alliance
DUBBO Regional Council will accept the invitation to join an alliance called Regional Cities NSW (RCNSW), made up of NSW’S largest regional centres.
The RCNSW will provide a united front for regional residents to influence NSW Government policy and investment on issues such as population growth, regional infrastructure and investment.
“It will be a significant force to work with and not work against in relation to improving the benefits to our region,” Dubbo Regional Council CEO Michael Mcmahon told Dubbo
The collective of 16 councils will include NSW Inland Forum members Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga Councils, as well as Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Griffith, Lismore, Maitland, Mid-coast, Port Macquarie-hastings, Queanbeyan and Tweed councils.
“This is a collaborative that involves the mayors, CEOS and GMS. The idea behind it is to allow us to sit at a table to really improve and regulate opportunities in our regional cities within that framework,” Mr Mcmahon said.
The concept follows on from a similar concept started 13 years ago in Victoria, which brought together 10 of Victoria’s largest regional cities as Regional Cities Victoria (RCV).
“RCV provides a collective voice for regional issues, which strengthens our advocacy and allows us to provide meaningful input into policy development. It also provides a valuable forum for engagement with state and federal governments,” Regional Cities Victoria Deputy Chair Cr Anna Speedie said.
“When it is formed the hope is that it will have enough clout to represent the biggest cities in NSW from Albury right through to Tweed,” Mr Mcmahon said. “It will actually then allow us to recognise the benefits of our cities, and offers us an opportunity to take a seat at the table to form and possibly implement policies,” he said.
Regional Cities Victoria has used their combined resources to develop a Liveability Index of the ten cities. Cr Speedie said RCV commissioned the Liveability Index to identify and understand potential opportunities for member cities to improve on existing liveability performance, and attract and retain residents.
Strategies with regard to population and settlement will also be on the RCNSW agenda.
“That’s quite topical at the moment in regards to the question of trying to get more people from Sydney and Melbourne, to start going to regional centres as part of their migration to Australia.
“RCNSW can actually create opportunities,” Mr Mcmahon said.
RCNSW will not replicate the Evocities program which is also involved in growing the workforce externally.
“Evocities won’t be part of this Regional Cities (group). The purpose now is to have a collective, but which doesn’t include the marketing side of trying to attract people to inland areas of NSW,” Mr Mcmahon said.
RCNSW would replace the existing NSW Inland Forum, which excluded Councils that were located on the coast such as Port Macquarie-hastings and Coffs Harbour.
Membership costs will be $10,000 per annum.
Local chair of the Economic Development Business and Corporate Committee, Greg Mohr, said Dubbo was well placed to benefit from the creation of RCNSW.
“Regional Cities NSW will push for real change in regional NSW,” Councillor Mohr said. “Issues such as congestion and rapid population growth in metropolitan areas are an opportunity for Dubbo and other regional cities to continue to grow. The NSW Government has also released $4.2 billion from the sale of the Snowy Hydro project to invest in regional NSW, and RCNSW will aim to guide how this money is allocated,” Cr Mohr said.
The creation of Regional Cities NSW is dependent on getting a minimum of nine member Councils. DURING September 2018, Dubbo Regional Council approved 50 development applications with a total a value of $43,021,740, according to its Planning Development and Environment Committee’s building summary.
In Geurie, part of Jennings Street has been renamed to Fuzzy Box Road. As a result of a previously approved residential subdivision, Jennings Street will be separated by an unformed section of bushland between the existing formed road and the newly formed road.
Renaming that part of Jennings Street will save confusion for emergency services and other service providers locating property owners, Council said.