3 July 2020
With all the challenges our community has had to deal with lately – from drought and bushfires to a global pandemic – it was a nice change to have some good news and that’s just what the Deputy Premier John Barilaro delivered last week.
Reforms to the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions program have long been a key item on Council’s Advocacy Agenda, and a regular topic of discussion in a range of forums, most notably with meetings with Mr Barilaro. Indeed, I’m sure he must have wanted to duck for cover whenever he saw another letter or another meeting request from Singleton.
But I said when he was in Singleton last week that I could have kissed him with his personal delivery of the news that our vision for reforms to the Resources for Regions program had been realised – and there would be millions of dollars in mining royalties guaranteed to return to our LGA when we submitted our applications under the next round of the program in September.
It’s well documented the Resources for Regions program has delivered us pitifully little except for disappointment in recent years. Our application for $7 million to continue the Town Centre Upgrade received half the amount we requested, and Council has borrowed the remainder of the funds to start construction on that project later this month. Our latest application for $8.5 million for the Singleton Roads Program did not receive a cent – but Mr Barilaro did deliver 50 per cent funding as requested via another source last year.
An average $340 million in mining royalties is sent to Macquarie Street from our LGA every year, and we are the State’s top contributor. Yet our community was missing out on vital funds from a program established with the core aim of supporting mining-affected regions.
I’m happy to say that Mr Barilaro has delivered on his commitment to change that, and Singleton will be at the top of the list of 24 mining-affected regions which are guaranteed to benefit from the revamped Resources for Regions program for the next three years. And the best part is we can work even more closely with our community to look at a broader scope of projects as the changes to the program extend beyond infrastructure. These are all important changes that we advocated for and which were all delivered in the reformed announced last week.
This isn’t a handout, or one cent more than what we believe our community deserves. This is merely due recognition for the people of Singleton and the significant contribution we make to the prosperity of everyone in NSW. But while we’re marking an important outcome now, we’ll be continuing to work hard to ensure the program continues beyond the next three years.
Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton