It’s been almost two weeks since we learned Singleton was unsuccessful in our application for Resources for Regions funding, and the disappointment is still raw.
Yes, as the Deputy Premier has pointed out, our community has benefited from $35 million from the NSW Government program in the past, and every project we’ve undertaken was delivered either on or ahead of time and budget.
That figure comes into sharp focus, however, in comparison to the $415milion per year that makes its way down the M1 to Macquarie Street as a direct result of coal mining in the Singleton LGA.
It’s a fair assessment, then, that most of that money is spent in areas outside our LGA where communities don’t contend with the infrastructure and social pressures that come with mining.
We in Singleton are acutely aware of the contribution our LGA makes to the people of NSW.
We don’t begrudge any spending of that money that helps to make NSW great.
But, as I’ve said before and as I’ve said directly to Deputy Premier John Barilaro, what we do expect is a fair go and a fair return on our contribution to help offset impacts we live with daily.
As we wait for the 2018/2019 State budget to be handed down - a proportion of which is directly derived from the coal mines of Singleton - and in the lead up to next year’s State election, I would expect funding announcements from other avenues in recognition of Singleton’s status as the economic beating heart of NSW.
The continuation of the Town Centre revitalisation, the subject of our latest unsuccessful application, remains on our wish list.
But there are also plenty of other priorities for our community that require State Government support, such as the realisation of the Singleton bypass and solutions to traffic congestion; more public transport options; education opportunities; and a greater police presence.
I could go on, and I will be raising our community’s priorities with Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen and in Macquarie Street every chance I get.
I also invite Mr Barilaro, the Premier and her Ministers to return to Singleton as a reminder of where the State’s wealth comes from - and that it’s the people of Singleton who pay the biggest price for our prosperity.