31 July 2019

With preparations well underway for the 200th anniversary since the naming of St Patricks Plains in the area we now know as Whittingham, it’s interesting to consider what those early pioneers might think of Singleton now. Clearly the colony from Governor Macquarie downwards, and the Aboriginal population long before them, knew the value of this area for supporting human settlements not only to survive, but to prosper. And there’s no doubt that almost 200 years later, that continues to be the case.

If there's something to celebrate about Singleton, it's the wonderful sense of community spirit we have right across our LGA. It’s in our people, and in our places, and one of those places is Rose Point All Abilities playground. Play time there has been elevated to a completely new level over the last couple of months — and stages eight and nine of the upgrades, set to be unveiled to the public today, will reveal two new zones and a host of new equipment to encourage inclusive and accessible play. These enhancements ensure that everyone in the community will be able to enjoy this fantastic outdoor facility in the heart of our town. It’s a project that goes right to the heart of our community, and I for one cannot wait to see the park abuzz with the sounds of happy children and their families.

It’s been two centuries since Benjamin Singleton founded our local government area, and we’re still delivering the proceeds of the riches of our area to Macquarie Street. The smiling faces of children relishing our outdoor spaces is further inspiration for why we need to keep the pressure on all levels of government to return mining royalties to the communities that produce them to ensure our ongoing prosperity into the future.

The platform already exists through the Government’s Resources for Regions program, albeit with significant changes needed for a fairer and more consistent distribution of funds, without the need for a co-contribution and benefit cost ratio requirements, to benefit mining-affected areas based on the level of impact each year. This is the premise of the program that Council has presented to the Deputy Premier John Barilaro on numerous occasions, along with demands for reform.

And with Mr Barilaro held to a promise to deliver the outcomes of a review of the program soon, I don’t intend to settle for anything less.

As our community prepares to come together for a festival of commemorations particularly over the weekend of 13-15 March 2020, I appeal to the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government to also reflect on the importance of Singleton to NSW, and to work with us to ensure our area continues to thrive into the future.