23 October 2019

I’m really proud to be the Mayor of the Singleton and I don’t apologise that my major focus is on getting the best results possible for the people of our local government area, whether through Council’s own operations or in terms of government investment.

So the Local Government NSW Annual Conference, which I attended last week, is a great opportunity for me personally to meet and mix with colleagues from across the State to get an insight into what’s happening in other areas. It’s not surprising that most councils and communities are facing very similar challenges, including but not limited to State and Federal government cost shifting, drought and water security, and the need to continue to improve infrastructure. And Singleton is happy to join with other councils in Local Government NSW’s campaigns for issues affecting all of us, including Save Our Recycling, which calls for State Government backing for regional plans for the future of waste and resource recovery, and to reinvest the waste levy it collects back into recycling and waste management.

The conference also reinforced the great work that’s being undertaken by local government for communities right across the State, and gives us another measuring stick for our own performance in Singleton. The work we’re doing in a range of areas - such as finance and asset management - easily holds up next to what’s happening in other local government areas.

I’m also really proud of the achievements we’re making in our approach to advocacy, where we are quite literally competing with every other LGA in NSW for State Government attention when it comes to the provision of infrastructure and services. It’s worth noting that the population of our LGA is comparably small even to some other regional areas, let alone metropolitan areas. But our contribution to the State of NSW is well documented in the amount of mining royalties that are produced within our boundaries every year and should be recognised.

Reforms to the Resources for Regions is one of the campaigns the General Manager and I have been driving with the State Government, and it was opportune that we had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro during the conference, ahead of very positive meeting with staff from the Department of Premier and Cabinet the following day. I’m very pleased to see the progress that is being made on this front, and in speaking with Mr Barilaro it is clear that his commitment to the reform process has not wavered. The discussions we have had so far are consistent with what we have been calling for and we are confident there will be positive announcements to come later this calendar year that will bode well for all the people of our local government area.