23 October 2020
After years of campaigning for the Australian government to commit to fund their share, I was thrilled to see $560million allocated towards the construction of the Singleton Bypass in the Federal Budget handed down earlier this month.
It has long been recognised that a partnership between the Federal and State governments is required to deliver the bypass, and the announcement was a significant step forward to realising this vital piece of infrastructure. This project has been the number one item on Council’s Advocacy Agenda since its inception, and a regular topic of (frustrated) discussion in our community. With all the challenges that we’ve faced over the past months – from drought, to bushfires to a global pandemic – it was fantastic to receive this good news.
Our focus is now resolved to stepping up our efforts to ensure the bypass is built in keeping with the needs of our community and the people who regularly drive through our local government area. We need to make sure the bypass is built right now, not as a stop-gap measure that will require further attention 20 years’ down the track. Our community deserves a full interchange at Putty Road and John Street to make it easy for everyone to visit our Town Centre and get on their way again, and it needs to be dual lane for the entire length. I am pursuing meetings with the relevant State ministers as a matter of urgency to discuss these issues and am very keen to see a resolution and construction sooner rather than later. The people of Singleton are already facing a range of economic, social and environmental challenges compounded by industry change, and we need all levels of government to build infrastructure that will help us to overcome, and most importantly thrive, into the future.
Speaking of resilience, locally there’s been a lot of work happening to support our residents and businesses through the impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions, most substantially through Council’s $2 million Community Support Package which has been designed to help our local economy recover and get life back to normal as much as possible. We know that assistance is starting to find the people who need it most, and just last week another initiative was announced with $10,000 worth of $100 Kids in Sports Scholarships now available for local families to help get children back into sport this summer. Delivered in partnership with Singleton Family Support and the Bloomfield Group, the scholarship is targeted at vulnerable families and can be used in addition to the NSW Government’s Active Kids vouchers. Application forms are available on Council’s website, and I encourage anyone who is doing it a bit tough to apply, because getting our kids back onto the field, court, track or in the pool is extremely important.
October is also Small Business Month, and Council in partnership with the Singleton Business Chamber have facilitated several free workshops for our local entrepreneurs exploring topics on social media marketing and building a resilient business. There is still time to register for sessions next week, with information available on Council’s Facebook page. Most importantly, Small Business Month is another timely reminder for us all to think about how we can continue to support businesses in the Singleton area by shopping locally. We know through the Spend in Singleton program that our town and outlying villages have a variety of fantastic shops to buy from — from essential items to homewares, local produce, gifts and services. We want to make sure that our local businesses not only survive, but thrive in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton