Accepting change is inevitable is an important part of surviving and prospering in an ever changing world.
No matter how much we might want to hanker for the comfort of the known, we have to embrace the unknown, and that includes the fact that our highly reliant coal economy will change in the coming years.
Singleton Council took steps on Monday night to accept change was coming and hopefully ensure the community is best place to grow and prosper in a changing world.
Voting to leave the Mining and Energy Related Councils Association (MERC) after 39 years of membership was part of that process.
In a report prepared for council on whether they should or should not leave MERC there were some very pertinent statements:
The potential changing nature of coal is an extreme risk for our community. We need to prioritise where we spend our limited time and resources. We need to ensure we focus our efforts on those issues of most importance to our community. This means we need to ensure we partner with organisations that are best placed to help us deliver for our community.
Regardless of the debate about the future of coal (and this report does not take a position on such), what can't be argued is that our economy, and therefore our community, is way too heavily reliant on coal mining. We need to start planning for diversity in our economy, we need to start planning for what the next highest and best use of mining land is, we need to work across the region to identify and plan for a scenario where mining is not here or in a form different to now.
So the two main messages from the report are the need to diversify our economy and accept that coal mining will not be around for ever and therefore find a way of using mining land.
As part of this process Council has established a Community and Economic Development Fund (CEDF) that will assist the community adjust to an evolving economy and environment.
Money which comes from Voluntary Planning Agreements will be channeled into the Fund - a first for mining related councils.
And this new approach to the use of mining funds is just one of the reasons why Council voted to leave MERC.
Council should be congratulated on adopting innovative approaches to surviving a challenging time for our community.