New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro made a welcomed appearance at the Singleton Council Chambers this morning to announce a significant roads package.
Mr Barilaro, who is also the Minister for Regional NSW, stood alongside Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen to confirm $4.25 million in funding from the NSW Government's $170 million Drought Stimulus Package will be allocated to our region (see video).
The funding will be used for vital improvements on the Glendonbrook, Elderslie, Cessnock and Lemington roads such as resurfacing, levelling and strengthening.
"Almost 10,000 people travel along these major road routes daily, especially during peak hour on week days and these roads need to be safe for drivers," Mr Barilaro explained.
"These much-needed upgrades will move cars and heavy vehicles more efficiently through the area, reduce congestion and alleviate stress on commuters and their families who live in the Hunter.
"This is a shovel ready project and an essential investment for commuters and for the local mining industry which is so dependent on heavy vehicles.
"This project is ready to go and its construction will generate immediate economic activity and jobs in the Hunter, which is doing it tough due to drought."
For Mr Johnsen, the gathering proved to be a moment of redemption as the two made the announcement alongside Singleton mayor Sue Moore and Singleton Council general manager Jason Linnane.
On the morning of Wednesday, May 1, when speaking directly to the Singleton Argus under the cloudy skies by the Wambo Mine, the Deputy Premier was forced to plead his government's guilt towards the Singleton LGA following the release of this year's Resources for Regions funding.
For the second straight year Singleton had been neglected (see story).
Fast forward 78 days and the bright skies returned to the Singleton region this Wednesday morning to accompany the announcement.
"Singleton council and the Singleton community were rightly upset when they didn't receive the money which I believe that they should have received out of Resources for Regions," Mr Johnsen reflected.
"The Deputy Premier agreed and there is a review of the Resources for Regions requirements but we also made the commitment a couple of months ago that we would find that money and that the community would benefit.
"We are here today to do exactly that, we're delivering on that commitment because Singleton is important to everyone and the infrastructure is important.
"We want safer roads and more generated activity."
Mr Linanne added to Mr Johnsen's appraisal a few moments later.
"It's really important to recognise that the Deputy Premier made a commitment and he's delivered on that commitment," Mr Linanne added.
"But at the same time we also thought that that was what we deserved because Singleton is the LGA that has the most mining affectation for NSW (if not the country).
"We're actually really excited about the changes in the resources for regions program because we think that that is really going to position us in terms of being able to take advantage of that.
"The changes they're talking about are the changes we've been suggesting for a number of years now."
MEANWHILE Mr Barilaro also visited the Scone Regional Airport with $6.5 million in Drought Stimulus Package funding also allocated for aerodrome upgrades.