Your town with Cass – Dubbo NSW

In this month’s Your Town column Move To More blogger and Eugowra local, Cassie Gates, chats with Matt Wright about his life in the popular central west city of Dubbo.

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What’s your Dubbo story Matt?

I didn’t grow up in Dubbo, however I have been here now for almost 25 years (does that make me a “local”??). Originally, I was transferred here by my employer at the time, from my home town of Forbes. A few years later I actually left that employer and helped establish the finance broking business which I now solely own and operate here in Dubbo.

I met my wife, Kristen, when I moved here. She pretty much grew up in Dubbo, and currently works in a local pre-school.

We have three kids who have all grown up here and been educated here (one has recently finished her HSC and is now employed by a local business).

We’ve got no plans to move on anytime soon!


Let’s get straight to it: what is life REALLY like in Dubbo?

Well… it really is a relaxed and affordable lifestyle! Whilst Dubbo is becoming more metropolitan, it still is just a big country town. Dubbo as a regional centre is, I suppose, “growing up”, and it has so much more to offer than it did, even say just 10 years ago! However, it still has that relaxed and friendly feel.

Interestingly about 18% of Dubbo’s population is from outside Australia. The food offerings are becoming more noticeably diverse as a result of this. In fact, Dubbo is home to arguably one of the best Indian Restaurants in the Country, and that’s not coming from reviews of locals but from people outside our community! We have lots of multi-culture retail shops popping up everywhere too!


What sort of jobs are available in Dubbo?

A lot of people think the only work available is farm-based roles but in Dubbo agriculture doesn’t even sit in the top 5 list of industry employers. The market is headed up by roles in construction, health, and retail.


What do you do on the weekend for fun?

Like most regional towns – sport is huge!

I am amazed at how popular our Dubbo Park Run is. It’s ranked as one of the top Parkruns nationally in terms of participation. There were 263 participant’s last weekend! A lot of outdoor water activities like fishing and going across to Lake Burrendong to water ski. There are also a lot of special interest groups like music, arts, and dance groups for example.

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Australia Day on the Macquarie River in Dubbo

What is the arts scene like?

The Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre attracts all sorts of acts: music, dance and theatre performances, it’s a very popular hub. One of the function centres on the outskirts of town held a Saturday afternoon music gig a few weekends ago which had an audience of 800 people, showcasing local & national artists. There are lots of regular activities like farmers markets, twice a month. And the car enthusiasts get together once a month for “Classic Cars & Coffee” to show off their vehicles and share stories. It attracts up to 200 cars some Sunday mornings! The Western Plains Cultural Centre hosts regular exhibitions which in the past have included the Archibald Prize.


Is Dubbo easy to get to if you don’t drive?

Two airlines fly multiple times a day to Sydney. Flights to Melbourne and Brissy also leave regularly. Buses do operate to other regional towns from Dubbo as well as the local buses which service the city daily. There is a daily train service as well to Sydney.


What is the housing situation like?

Dubbo offers a diverse range of housing however like many regional centres we do have a shortage especially with the population increasing by around 1.5% per year. The main thing here is that our housing is affordable with a median price of around $520k. Rental pressure is easing however there is still a rather low vacancy rate of around 1.5%.  There are several new housing developments in progress. These include a couple of multilevel residential buildings in the early stages of approval/construction, which will be built in the CBD. This will allow people to work and live in the CBD, which will address this need.


Can you get in to see a doctor?

At times it can be challenging to get in to see a GP at the moment (like many other regional areas). A number of specialists are available in our hospital and brand new cancer centre (both are very well serviced). Dubbo is seen as a health-hub for western NSW. The Royal Flying Doctors Service do have a base here, so we see patients from everywhere.


Here’s your time to pitch! If you had to give someone one reason to move to Dubbo, what would it be?

Opportunity! Dubbo does give people the opportunity to own their own affordable home with a relaxed lifestyle in a 10-minute city. It literally takes you 10 minutes to get across the city from pretty much anywhere!

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Flat great western plains – aerial view over regional rural town Dubbo.

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