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10.3.2017 Comment for Dubbo Photo News on Red Hot Summer Tour 2017

On 2 December 2011 I attended my first OROC (Orana Region Of Councils) meeting. OROC at the time consisted of eleven Councils in the region – generally the Councils North-West through to South-West of Dubbo. This meeting was held in Coonabarabran. As this was the first OROC meeting for the newly minted Mayor of the City of Dubbo, one of the other attendees pulled me aside and had a quick heart to heart with me. He told me that all the talk over the years of Dubbo being a spo ..

16.12.2016 Last Mayor of the City of Dubbo: Weekender 2016 Year in Review

“Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.” Forever more, no review of Dubbo for this year will be complete without the analysis of Council amalgamations and the consideration of Hitchen’s razor. Hitchen took the Latin proverb above and asserted that the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, the claim is unfounded and opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it. Keep that in mind when you consider the strengt ..

26.5.2016 The respect for democracy: Dubbo Photo News

This was an opinion piece published in Dubbo Photo News on Thursday 26 May. . . I received a phone call last week. Actually I received a lot of calls and texts and e-mails and messages and…you get the idea. One phone call stood out though. I saw the name come up on my phone. It was someone whom I had talked to often when I was the Mayor. He usually wasn’t very happy with something that was happening at Council or wasn’t convinced we were making the right decisi ..

20.5.2016 The day democracy died in NSW: Final Weekender Column (107)

Democracy. It is a simple enough word. Kids learn how to say and spell it from a young age. There are very few words in the English language that can stir up such emotion and motivate mankind to commit acts which would otherwise never be considered. The concept of democracy is generally believed to have originated in Ancient Athens circa 500 B.C. although there is evidence to suggest that democratic forms of government may have existed before that time. WWI was a temporary victory f ..

13.5.2016 Attractions V Activities for tourism: Weekender Column 106

I am currently returning from a (non-Council funded) couple of days in Kuala Lumpur where I had the chance to speak at a global conference on Tourism. I had the chance to speak to the people attending about Evocities and creating events to drive tourism but it was also fascinating listening to other presenters at the conference. One item that struck me as I sat back and listened at the conference was the difference between attractions and activities. Many people across the world talk about t ..

29.4.2016 How satellite towns benefit from a strong regional city: Weekender Column 105

My last column focused on the success of Evocities and the population boost experienced by the seven participating cities as a direct result of the campaign. Way back on 21 July 2006 I sat through a presentation by Gary Wells from Wagga Wagga when the concept of Evocities was first brought to the attention of Dubbo. As the concept was further developed, an important aspect was the criteria that went alongside being classified as an Evocity. This caused angst amongst some locations as they co ..

15.4.2016 Do regional cities need marketing or infrastructure? Weekender Column 104

I am sure you are familiar with the scene. Kevin Costner (playing Ray) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield. Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray feels the need to act. He builds a baseball diamond on his land and waits for the ghost of his father to play catch with him. When it comes to regional growth, many people believe they are quoting from ‘Field of Dreams’ when they say, “Build it and they will come.” While Ray walks around the cornfield listening to th ..

01.4.2016 What can we learn from Apple on their 40th anniversary: Weekender Column 103

Forty years ago today Ronald Wayne; Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded a little start-up technology company called Apple. After forty years of twists and turns including verging on bankruptcy, it now sits atop the NASDAQ as the most valuable company in the world with a current market capitalisation of US$672 billion. The combined market cap of Microsoft and Google – at three and four on the NASDAQ - only just overshadow Apple. To gain some appreciation of their dominant position, the ..

18.3.2016 Promotion or Protection. Where should Councils stand? Weekender Column 102

Lock the gates! I am not talking about a form of anti-CSG protest but economic development. There are some in any given community (mainly existing businesses) that would be quite happy if their Council froze all existing business development and accepted no new developments. Unfortunately for those businesses, the last Council election proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that residents like to see new businesses open up in a city. Residents like the additional businesses as they offer choice ..

04.3.2016 Dubbo is on the MONEY: Weekender Column 101

Avid readers of my column out there (hi Mum) would remember Column 68 which was published in Weekender at the end of October 2014. In that column I introduced a concept that I called MONEY. MONEY was not what we normally think of as money, but instead it was an acronym for an index I created. The acronym stood for Monthly Opulence ‘n’ Economic Yardstick and it was my method of ranking the economic health of a city. It is now 71 weeks later and I haven’t come up with a  ..