MAYORAL COLUMN - 24 April 2019

There’s no more important occasion to reflect on what we love about Australia than Anzac Day, when we pause to honour all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the defence of our way of life.

In Branxton, as in towns across Australia, those soldiers who departed for battlefields on faraway shores hold a special place in our community, because it is their sacrifice that means we can enjoy all the freedoms we take for granted today.

And as we stop to look back, it is their legacy that we build on as we plan for the future of our community and indeed, given we are in the midst of a Federal election campaign, the future of our nation. 

Singleton Council has unveiled a Federal Advocacy Agenda that sets out the needs of the people of our local government area from the Federal Government. The number one item is of course Federal funding for a New England Highway bypass of Singleton, to add to the $92 million committed from the State Government to achieve our goal for delivery of the project by 2024.

The agenda also calls for increased drought support for farmers across our area, and actions to address the impacts of flying-fox colonies.

But with campaigning well underway, the national conversation is focused on Australia’s direction on climate change. And while both major parties are pledging vastly different ambitions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the conversation cannot be had without consideration for the future of coal, and the need for affordable and reliable energy.

That’s why both sides of politics, and all levels of government, must commit to consideration for the future of mining-affected communities to ensure they continue to be vibrant, sustainable and resilient to industry transformation.

Our Federal Advocacy agenda calls on all candidates in the seat of Hunter to commit to supporting mining-affected regions, namely:

  • in partnership with the State Government, fund a program to address social issues associated with mining dependent regions; and
  • in partnership with the State Government, provide dedicated resourcing and funding aimed at making a future Singleton economy resilient and diverse.

It is our view that a fully funded program spanning 10-plus years aimed at, but not limited to infrastructure, education, training, social support and idea development is required to assist our community to transition away from the single engine mining economy. This commitment will go a long way to ensuring not only Singleton, but our region as a whole can adjust during the predicted industrial transition, and our community can continue to enjoy the same quality of life with or without coal.

Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton