The shift towards services that aren’t in the traditional scope for Councils.

The arrival of spring is a stark contrast to the frosty temperatures in Canberra recently for the LG Professionals annual National Congress and Business Expo 2018. But there was nothing chilly about the discussions that took place.

The General Manager and I took a lot away from the presentations around what is best practice in local government, emerging issues for our industry and our communities, and most interestingly, the shift towards services that aren’t in the traditional scope for Councils.

A case in point for Singleton is Council’s Drought Assistance Hub, designed to be a first port of call for primary producers affected by the drought who perhaps don’t know where to start to find the assistance available to them. Council’s role in this instance is literally to support our community.

We’ve gathered all the information available for farmers to access in one place, including contact phone numbers, addresses, websites and emails, and we’re a friendly face for people to come in, have a cup of tea, fill in an online form or get in touch with the services you need in an environment where you don’t feel so isolated.

But roads, rates and rubbish will always be fundamental to what local government means to people, and we’ve been having plenty of conversations in Council about money for our local road network.

You’ll see a total of $7.6 million is committed to roads and drainage projects under Council’s 2018/2019 Capital Works program – representing more than 60 per cent of the remaining $12.45 million when $19 million in water and sewer projects is removed.

That includes $900,000 for the Rural Roads reseal program and $500,000 each for Kelso Street and Glendonbrook Road.

Council has also lodged an application with the State Government’s Resources For Regions program for the Singleton Road Upgrade Program to contribute half of the $8.5 million for works that include the Glendonbrook Road Rehabilitation; Elderslie Road approaches; Cessnock Road bridge replacement; and Moses Crossing approach upgrade.

Roads will always be a topic for debate, and competing priorities mean there are some projects that have to miss out. But I’m confident we have a robust program in place to ensure a smooth ride into the future.