mayoral column - 10 July 2019

With the one-time Member for Newcastle now at the helm of the NSW Labor Party and the appointment of a Shadow Minister for the Hunter in Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr MP, the Hunter Region has come into sharp focus in the past couple of weeks.

My aim as the Mayor of Singleton is to make sure Singleton isn’t left out of the conversation, which is why I’ve already written to the Opposition Leader Jodi McKay and Mr Barr to remind them of Singleton’s Advocacy Agenda, and to enlist their support and action for those issues pertinent to the people of our local government area.

Of course, Singleton is well represented in Macquarie Street by the Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnson MP, and we also saw in the past week the opening of the new Gowrie Gates in a partnership between the ARTC and RMS.

Funding began for that project six years ago in the 2013 State Budget. And that’s why, with a nominal amount in this year’s Budget for the Singleton bypass of the New England Highway, we’ll be looking for more support from all levels of government and all political persuasions to meet Council’s deadline for the road to be built by 2024.

We are also standing by a promise by the Deputy Premier John Barilaro to review the Resources for Regions program, to deliver a fairer outcome for mining affected communities.

Policing is also high on our Advocacy Agenda. We saw this week the announcement of extra police for our region, including 11 additional jobs for the Hunter Valley command, and we hope some of those officers will make their way to Singleton. And with more police expected in the next 12 months, those numbers may be added in our region to achieve a 24-hour police station.

But the issue of an appropriate Singleton Police Station building remains. Labor pledged $17 million for a new police station for Singleton ahead of the March State election, along with a promise for construction in the first term of a Labor government, to replace the heritage building it described as being “ill-equipped” for modern policing.

So far, the NSW Government has been eerily silent. I would hope the issue is still at the forefront for the Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for the Hunter, and we can work together to ensure the NSW Government takes note of what the people of Singleton need for a safe community.