MAYORAL COLUMN - 1 May 2019

With climate change so high on the national agenda as part of Federal election campaigning, it stands to reason that any conversation about the future of coal cannot be avoided

Both major parties have pledged vastly different ambitions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But both directions must factor the consequences for coal production, and, in Singleton Council’s view, the impacts on mining communities such as ours

The importance of mining to Singleton is well-noted, particularly as it accounts for 65% of our regional output. Indeed, Australia itself remains heavily reliant on coal exports.

Regardless of who wins at the polls on 18 May and what policy they pursue, if there is to be a national movement away from the reliance of coal and coal-fired energy, Singleton also needs to be on a course where our local economy can not only survive, but thrive

That includes opportunities for local mineworkers and their families to remain in Singleton because of the lifestyle benefits, while continuing to enjoy the economic rewards that come from stable employment and career satisfaction.

I have mentioned previously that Council is developing the Singleton Council Socio-economic Development Strategy 2019-2021, to outline our socio-economic principles, priorities and actions with the goal to maintain Singleton’s importance to the economic prosperity of NSW.

But with climate change and the role of coal dominating the national conversation, both the Federal and State governments owe it to communities such as Singleton – which have helped to drive the State and national economies – to support them to be vibrant, sustainable and resilient to government-led industry transformation.

Council’s Federal Advocacy agenda calls on all candidates in the seat of Hunter to commit to supporting mining-affected regions, namely through partnerships with the State Government to provide dedicated resourcing and funding aimed at making a future Singleton economy resilient and diverse.

By doing nothing, it will appear the Federal and State governments have exploited areas like ours for our natural resources, without compensation for the people who have carried the load for the benefit of other areas – including Canberra. 

This federal election may not only be a tipping point for the national direction on climate change, but the future of Singleton. I hope both levels of government are considering what the impacts will be for mining-affected communities, and what they must do to ensure communities like ours flourish into the future.

Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton