OPINION: Make it Happen

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If the State Government’s premise for the Resources for Regions program is indeed to deliver local infrastructure to support mining communities, then it will be impossible to ignore Singleton Council’s applications under the latest round.

While Singleton has earmarked two projects with a combined total of $13,353,000, we are asking the State Government for just half of the cost to deliver significant improvements for our community.

That includes $4,853,000 for the next stage of upgrades to Singleton Town Centre, and perhaps most importantly to those people who travel to our local government area for work, an $8.5 million Singleton Roads Upgrade Program.

Four major transport routes vital to workers driving to and from Singleton’s 17 coal mines are included under the application, identified because they are vitally important in maintaining Singleton Council’s road infrastructure to a level that is required to support our annual $4.2 billion gross regional product.

That means 9,070 workers living outside the Singleton local government area will have a safe and reliable commute to work in the mines and other mining-related employment every day, using Glendonbrook Road, Elderslie Road, Cessnock Road and Moses Crossing.

Our application outlines detailed design work for a rehabilitation of Glendonbrook Road, which currently shows signs of wear and tear potholing, flushing, heaving and cracking.

Plans for the Elderslie Road approaches include pavement widening and improvement of curves of the eastern approach to the bridge along the existing embankment and cut batters, while a replacement of the Cessnock Road bridge includes bridge widening and curve improvement on the eastern approach. Upgrades to the bridge would significantly improve heavy vehicle movement and support regional heavy vehicle infrastructure.

Moses Crossing Bridge would also be targeted, adding a 70m concrete approach in the bed of the river and to strengthen a 1km section of pavement to the top of the riverbank. This area is regularly inundated by flood waters and requires regular maintenance. When the works are complete, the roadway will be safer for vehicles to use after flood waters recede.

I would appeal to the Deputy Premier and the man who oversees the Resources for Regions program, John Barilaro, to consider the impacts of these projects not if they go ahead, but if they don’t.

There can be no value put on the peace of mind for workers’ families that will come from knowing the roads their loved ones are driving on are the best possible standard. Because more important than the route to work is the drive home again.

But there is a very definite dollar value attached to the outputs from those workers who, simply by arriving at work safely and getting on with the job, deliver enormous benefits to every single person in NSW.

With a State election looming and an announcement yet to be made on the latest round of funding, I hope the decision-makers act on the intention of the Resources of Regions funding when they are considering Singleton’s applications. And that is to consider the real impacts on the people who are very literally at the coalface.

Cr Sue Moore, Mayor of Singleton


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