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May 30-June 5, 2019 Dubbo Photo News

7 DAYS • ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK’S NEWS

Showtime, roads, rail, and ministries. The Dubbo Show looks spectacular in this photo taken Friday night by Luke Hibbard Photography.

John Ryan ❚ OPINION & ANALYSIS Send your news tips to john.ryan@panscott.com.au or 0429 452 245 txt is best

Showtime WELL done to all the people who make the show happen each and every year, and huge kudos to all the rural exhibitors who endure the cost and the time to enter various events – despite such a run of shocking seasons sucking the lifeblood from rural industries. But in what are pretty tight times, it’ll be interesting to see how all the figures turn out in the wash, with many people telling me they decided to buy something for their kids rather than enjoy a transient experience at the show – it shows how tight the job is for so many families at the moment.

Mendooran and beyond ONE thing Dubboites can do to help our struggling drought-stricken neighbouring towns is simply pay them a visit. Dubbo rakes in huge amounts of money from tourism and general overnight stays and, in the same way, just a few extra people visiting a smaller town can mean plenty of local jobs, and cash pouring through the economy. Mendooran has been smashed by the drought, with people running supplies of bottled water up there at one stage, so if you’re looking for a quiet weekend drive, why not cruise up there with a few friends and spend a few bucks in the town. Just as we want city people to visit Dubbo and spend dollars, our much larger population base can help out in our general region. Wello is just down the road, there’s also Stuart Town, Mumbil, Eumungerie, Wongarbon, Gilgandra, Narromine and Yeoval within easy driving distance. Check out when any of these places are having an event and go and spread some cash.

All roads lead to nowhere INCREDIBLE that Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) staged what it called ‘community consultations’ in the city this week when it’s quite obvious they’re telling, not asking. I’ve repeatedly asked for the detail around the organisation’s socalled ‘community consultation’ on the disastrous River Street Bridge proposal, but of course that’s never been forthcoming because there is no community support for this $140 million waste of money. So many dramas with this I don’t even know where to begin, but if I was new Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders, on a wafer-thin margin, I’d listen to the people who are going to vote him out in four years and act on their concerns now. I reckon that – more than anything else – would make this seat safe for the Nats. I know the Nationals’ hierarchy like to believe their own version

of why they scraped in to hold the seat of Dubbo, but I believe at least 20 per cent of people didn’t vote Nats purely because of the continued arrogance shown on this issue – the party has so obviously got it wrong, and everyone knows it. This week, I again asked the RMS for that data, and again I received nothing. Surely if they had widespread community support, that information would be shouted from every rooftop.

Some rails lead to Dubbo THE Nats are doing a lot better on the rail, with Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders claiming the NSW Government’s Regional Rail Fleet Project will open the door to new opportunities for local businesses and suppliers, as well as creating hundreds of jobs in regional communities. Industry briefings for the project were held this week and more than 120 registrations received. “This is a great opportunity for

our region with the new purpose-built maintenance facility to be built in Dubbo,” Mr Saunders said. “The NSW Government is building on its commitment to support our regions and will deliver a first-class rail fleet for passengers. “These briefings provide the opportunity for attendees to meet and ask questions of the project team from Transport for NSW and Momentum Trains about the opportunities available to them to get involved.” Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the $2.8 billion project would include building the maintenance facility in Dubbo along with replacing the existing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains.

Yes, Minister

digital connectivity, and to bring more doctors to our rural and regional communities,” Mr Coulton said. “As Minister for Regional Services, I will now be in a position to make even more of a difference to people’s lives in rural and regional areas, which is a great privilege. “Decentralisation is a significant part of what helps regions to thrive. I have long supported bringing more people and a diverse skillset into our regions, and as such I look forward to this area of responsibility,” he said. Prior to entering parliament, Mark Coulton was Mayor of Gwydir Shire Council and says local government is close to his heart. “As Member for Parkes, I have enjoyed working closely with local councils across my electorate, of which there are now 18,” he said. He lists his key ministerial priorities as: z Building on the Coalition Government’s successful Mobile Black Spot Program to improve regional connectivity; z Improving the rollout of the NBN across Australia; z Bringing more doctors and medical professionals to rural and regional areas. z Send your news tips to john.ryan@panscott.com.au or 0429 452 245 txt is best z Additional reporting by Dubbo Photo News staff. Note: John Ryan is also a councillor on Dubbo Regional Council, and is also employed part-time by Landcare. He writes here in his capacity as a journalist.

CONGRATULATIONS to Mark Coulton for his selection in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ministry. Mr Coulton says he’s “deeply honoured” to have been appointed as the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, as well as retaining his former role as Assistant Trade and Investment Minister. With such a workload already just from having to drive around the vast Parkes electorate, I reckon it’s time for an aeroplane so he can get to the more remote places far more quickly and not have to spend so much time on kangaroo-infested roads. “As Member for Parkes, Mark which covers half of NSW, I Coulton have worked hard to improve

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