23 September 2020
Anyone who’s driven along John Street in Singleton recently can see the evidence of progress happening in our local government area, although we might grumble about the short-term disruptions to traffic.
In retrospect, the $7 million Town Centre Upgrade - Stage 2 could not have come at a better time as our community continues to grapple with the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Town Centre project represents an investment in the future and resilience of our local government area, and an injection of money and people in John Street particularly through opportunities for local sub-contractors and businesses.
Accordingly, Council’s $45 million capital works budget for 2020/2021 is more than just the list of projects we’re working on this year: it’s also an important boost for COVID recovery. Projects like the Town Centre Upgrade, the new Animal Management Facility and water main upgrades are generating investment and jobs in the short-term, and setting us up for the opportunities that will come into the future.
And with all the uncertainty in the world at the moment, that’s a ray of good news.
But it doesn’t end there. We’re always looking to engage as many local contractors as possible and Council is currently reviewing our procurement policies to give this even greater emphasis.
Council’s injection is also being compounded by announcements in other industries, namely $42.2 million for the Singleton Mid-Term Refresh Project. I said at the time that this was a wonderful demonstration of the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to the importance of the Singleton Military Area. But what’s most significant is the target that has been set for 82 per cent of subcontract packages to benefit businesses in Singleton and the Hunter Region throughout the duration of the project to 2022.
Council is also working hard to secure more funding under opportunities from the Federal and State governments that would not have factored in our works program otherwise. That includes $500,000 under the Streets as Shared Spaces program to continue the revitalisation of the Town Centre with some creative ideas for Burns Lane, Bourkes Arcade Lane, Tre Bella Lane and Evidence Lane.
And of course, we’re looking forward to the outcome of our Resources for Regions applications in November, which add up to a further $4.5 million injection for infrastructure and programs to benefit our community.
But we know wellbeing isn’t all about money and shiny new projects. And that’s why we’re also looking at how this funding can also bring us all together – in ways that comply with COVID-19 restrictions. I hope we have even more good news to share soon.
Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton