On Tuesday, the NSW Government handed down their long awaited Budget in parliament, exactly one year ago - to the day - that the first known case of COVID-19 was detected in central China.
At the same time, Australia was battling unprecedented bushfires, with the approaching season turning out to be the worst NSW has ever recorded. So, as expected, Tuesday's Budget was one focused heavily on recovery.
In Singleton LGA, the only infrastructure projects to receive significant funding in Tuesday's announcement were roads, but the funding is going towards the planning, not the construction, of the upgrades, so it will be years before we see the outcome.
The government is continuing their previously announced commitment to the planning of the Singleton Bypass by providing a further $5.029 million in 2020-21. The Federal Government also announced $587 million for the Singleton bypass last month.
In addition, Muswellbrook bypass was allocated $3.5 million for the same year, bringing the total commitment to New England Highway bypass planning in the Upper Hunter to $8.529 million.
More than $6.7 million was also announced for the planning of the New England Highway upgrade between Belford and the Golden Highway.
The big winner for the Hunter is the new Maitland hospital, one of the main referral hospitals for the Upper Hunter, with $220 million, to be spent on the $470 million project over the next financial year.
Planning is underway for the John Hunter Hospital to deliver updated and enhanced services providing a larger facility to meet the demands of the Greater Newcastle, Hunter New England and northern NSW regions who rely heavily upon it with a new $780 million health and innovation precinct recieving $16 million for early planning works in 2020-21.
Although it won't directly benefit Singleton LGA, the local mining industry will play a role in the COVID-19 economic recovery, with mining royalties going towards a NSW Generations Fund as part of the NSW government's debt reduction strategy.
The Resources for Regions program has also been boosted, with a further $75 million available for local mining-related councils to fund local projects, with Singleton eligible to apply for the program yet again.