Stronger Communities Funding Helped Dubbo Region Through Merger

Mayor of the Dubbo Region Ben Shields said Dubbo has unfairly been criticised for grants received through the Stronger Communities fund to assist in the merger of Dubbo City and Wellington Shire Councils.

A media report sparked by criticism from the NSW Greens said Dubbo had received more funding than it should have through the NSW Government program in 2017. However Councillor Shields said the $27.7 million went towards important projects including the reconstruction of the Wellington Pool, upgrading of Dubbo’s Fitzroy-Cobra Street intersection and the construction of a new premises for the Dubbo SES and VRA.

“I make no apologies – none at all – in lobbying for Dubbo. For too long regional areas have missed on much needed funding for critical infrastructure projects,” Councillor Shields said.

“Merging two Councils is a very difficult process and there have been significant challenges related to that which have needed to be overcome by the new Council. There was a significant infrastructure backlog that will take years to address.”

Councillor Shields said he was disappointed politicians were questioning the need of Dubbo and Western NSW for important funding.

“Dubbo, being the epicentre of Western NSW has a service population of 140,000 people yet only has a Council population of 55,000 people. This in itself shows that government assistance is needed for Dubbo ratepayers to fund vital services for people who in a lot of cases live away from our councils borders,” Councillor Shields said.

“One of the things that disappoints me about the Greens Party attacks on Dubbo is that out of the parties in State Parliament, it’s the Greens who have no engagement with Dubbo Regional Council. As Mayor I have met with Liberal, Labor, National, Shooters, One Nation and Christian Democrat MPs. All of them showed an interest in Western NSW and the issues affecting our area. But I’ve heard nothing from the Greens.

“Dubbo has been on the front lines with the drought. We have multiple issues that need State Government assistance. The Greens attack shows that they are simply not on the side of anyone outside of the inner city.”

Source: DRC