Helicopter View

Helicopter View

28.4.2012 Weekender Column 10

I am writing this column on the evening of ANZAC Day so it is impossible to sit down to write a column about my helicopter view and not be overwhelmed by the emotion of the day. Before I speak about some of that emotion, I want to think about the wonderful and unique country we live in. An alien visitor on ANZAC day (or even just someone form America) would have been completely confused while watching people play two-up. I love the simplicity and the honesty. The mateship that is inherent in ..

14.4.2012 Weekender Column 9

The term lobbyist will often conjure up an image of a shady character doing unscrupulous deals behind closed doors to generate more money for a cigar-smoking tyrant sitting on his island in the Bahamas. Maybe there are some lobbyists that act in that way and surprisingly enough the Australian government felt it necessary to introduce a lobbying code of conduct in 2008 but the reality is that the vast majority of lobbying is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparenc ..

31.3.2012 Weekender Column 8

At 27km in length and up to 4km wide, the Tasman Glacier in New Zealand is that country’s longest and largest glacier. The glacier is currently reducing in size by up to 822m each year. In 1973, there was no terminal lake at the base of the glacier whereas today the Tasman Lake is 7km long by 2km wide. In January this year, a 30 million tonne ice calving occurred to add to the 40 million tonne chunk of ice that calved in February last year. I don’t want to get into an argument ab ..

17.3.2012 Weekender Column 7

I have heard a variety of views about city growth in my time on Council and what it would mean for Dubbo in the long run. Generally, most people are keen for Dubbo to continue to grow and attract new and improved facilities and services, but one of the many risks a growing community presents to its residents is that we lose our small country town feel. Sometimes people tell me the reason they choose to live in the villages surrounding Dubbo is because those communities still have a strong se ..

03.3.2012 Weekender Column 6

I well remember a training session that I attended way back on 4 February 2004. It was a pre-election seminar for anyone that was thinking about contesting the upcoming Council elections. Peter Sutton, former Deputy Mayor of Dubbo, spoke at the three-hour seminar about some of the roles and responsibilities of being a Councillor. One aspect of the seminar had a profound impact on me. We were asked to form into small groups and we were given a challenging hypothetical problem that we had  ..

18.2.2012 Weekender Column 5

Many people would be aware of the fact that Council has a huge number of working parties and committees that allow the community to participate in the decision-making processes of Council. Councillors are also represented on a number of external committees to allow a direct communication conduit to link the community to the Council. Including our standing committees, the total number of these committees is 52. It is nigh impossible for a Councillor to be on every single one of those committe ..

04.2.2012 Weekender Column 4

Ahhh – the halcyon days of the past. A time when governments had chests full of money and they handed it out to anyone that put a cogent argument to them and bought them dinner. Many people would have me believe that to receive a government grant, you simply knock on the door of a relevant minister and the door is answered by a person wielding a two-metre-wide cheque and a texta that can add as many zeroes as you want. If ever I had any distorted visions that a few door knocks woul ..

21.1.2012 Weekender Column 3

Why do governments exist? It is a deep philosophical question that people answer with a huge variety of alternatives. Some people believe governments exist to protect people from themselves; others believe they exist to provide a sense of order in the land; and still others think that governments exist to protect the innate human rights we all have. These ideas all have some legitimacy, but I have a different view. We survived as a species for the bulk of our existence without any form  ..

17.12.2011 Weekender Column 2

Dubbo is a thriving tourist hub with cultural, historic and landmark significance that attracts visitors from all across the world. If you mention Dubbo outside our City it's more than likely someone has heard of it. This is where you come in. Let's consider for a moment how we can increase visitation to Dubbo. According to the latest stats from Tourism Research Australia, Dubbo had 376,000 overnight domestic visitors last financial year and they stayed for a total of 795,000 nights at  ..

03.12.2011 Weekender Column 1

A friend of mine in Sydney considers himself lucky - he only wastes five hours a week commuting to work. The average commute time for Sydney employees is 4.8 hours meaning the average person wastes 6.24 weeks a year sitting in a car listening to offensive radio shock jocks. Based on the median Sydney income of $66,200, the cost in lost productivity alone is $7,916 per annum. Furthermore, a whopping 27 percent of the average consumer’s annual emissions come from the car. One of the most ..