Mayor calls for greater support for Hunter's diversification

Published on 03 September 2021

Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore is calling for the outcomes of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW to trigger more Government support for the economic diversification of Singleton and the wider Hunter Region.

A total of 21 recommendations resulted from the Inquiry, chaired by Alex Greenwich MP, including a proposal for a statutory body to provide leadership and governance for the Hunter during changes to the energy sector, with a plan led by and tailored to the community and resourced to deliver economic diversification and retraining opportunities for workers.

Other recommendations included a requirement for mine operators or site owners to rehabilitate and reuse existing infrastructure to make sites more attractive for post mine use, and the removal of barriers preventing the development of a container terminal by the Port of Newcastle.

Cr Moore said it was vital that affected communities were involved in the evolution of the economy, highlighting the importance of input by local councils, along with the Hunter Joint Organisation, to the establishment and operation of a statutory body.

“Singleton is one of the biggest contributors of mining royalties to NSW, and any change in the energy industry, however necessary or worthwhile, will impact our community and economy,” she said.

“Council is watching the move towards renewable energy sources closely and has begun planning for the future of our local government area through a range of measures, not least the creation of a Legacy Fund to provide resources for projects and programs to diversify our local economy and support our community now and into the future.

“We’re also working on projects to develop an approach to post mining land that supports environmental and socio-economic sustainability outcomes; developing a tourism strategy and destination management plan to broaden and promote our tourism industry and appeal to visitors; progressing a Destination of Choice project to attract and build on our economic diversity and resilience; and delivering actions in the Singleton Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2020-2024.

“But as the report rightly points out, local government cannot coordinate or manage energy transition on its own: it needs State leadership, governance and accountability to our region.

 “I have written to the members of the Inquiry, as well as the Premier, Deputy Premier, Leader of the Opposition and our local MPs, asking to meet with them to discuss the recommendations of the Inquiry, and how we can work together to best meet the needs of our community.”

Cr Moore also reiterated Council’s support for the $25million Royalties for Rejuvenation Fund, announced in Singleton earlier this year, and the continuation of the Resources for Regions Fund.

She said both programs should co-exist to acknowledge the contribution of the mining communities to the prosperity of NSW.

“I have spoken to politicians on all sides about the importance of these funds to provide for our community now and into the future, including the Deputy Premier,” she said.

“Council has also been very proactive in working with our local community organisations to ensure these funds deliver programs and projects that will continue to benefit the people of Singleton, regardless of what might happen in the mining industry.”