MAYORAL COLUMN - 10 April 2019
Reports in the media over the past week have cast a shadow over the future of the Big W store in Singleton, consequently bringing the retail landscape – and our economic climate generally – into sharp focus.
Economic speculation usually centres on the mining industry, appropriately because the Singleton Local Government Area has the advantage and disadvantage of being a one engine economy with 65% of regional output coming from mining.
But our residents told us they want a diverse economic base in Singleton and, along with agricultural production, Defence and tourism, retail is a vital part of the mix.
Council recognises it has a role to play in creating an economic framework that allows businesses of all sizes to flourish for the benefit of our community now and into the future.
Future planning is already underway with a region-wide focus such as Council’s representation on the State Government’s Upper Hunter Economic Diversification Work Group. Significant projects to ensure water security into the future are also progressing in collaboration with Water NSW, Hunter Water and Department of Premier and Cabinet.
At the same time, Council is developing the Singleton Council Socio-economic Development Strategy 2019-2021, to outline our socio-economic principles, priorities and actions with the goal to maintain Singleton’s importance to the economic prosperity of NSW – with or without mining.
Strategic focus areas identified in the draft document look to create an environment that fosters and supports business and entrepreneurship and encourages new industry investment, recognising the need for capital investment.
It also acknowledges the needs of people in our community to be fulfilled outside their working life, with actions around the provision of a high quality education system, social support and community facilities.
But many of these actions cannot be delivered by Council in isolation. Which is why I have already written to newly re-elected Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen seeking their support in our bid to attract diverse and significant investment to our region and in doing so, cement the future of Singleton and the prosperity of our community.
The future of our community depends on what we do now. While the draft Singleton Socio-economic Plan 2019-21 sets out actions for the next two years, what we are working for is the thanks we’ll never hear from the people of Singleton who will come after us.
Cr Sue Moore
Mayor of Singleton