Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore says she is "devastated" to see that the Resources for Regions grant program has been slashed from the State Budget.
The program was originally brought in by the Coalition government, headed by then Premier Barry O'Farrell in 2011, to address what many on our community felt was neglect by state authorities of the impacts on regions like Singleton from the rapid growth of mining.
With the Singleton Local Government Area along with Muswellbrook providing the lions share of coal mining royalties to the state government the Resources for Regions Program was considered a way to give back to these districts to support them.
There were times Singleton missed out on funding through the program but in the last few of years it has proven to be a vital source of money for major infrastructure projects.
Singleton Council has worked closely with the NSW Government in recent years to deliver positive reform to the program, which ensures communities that are directly affected by mining activities receive their fair share of the royalties generated from their region.
Cr Moore said having seen the positive impact Resources for Regions has had on Singleton and after Council's strong advocacy to continue the program, it was extremely disappointing that it had been omitted from Tuesday's Budget.
"Resources for Regions has proved to be a successful mechanism to deliver a fair return to our community for the daily and unavoidable impacts of mining. Issues including air quality, traffic congestion, visual impairment and reputation are matters that affect us so much more as a result of being where the mining activity actually occurs," she said.
"Considering the significant amount of royalties generated from our region, and given the government will raise coal royalties by an estimated $2.7billion over the next four years, it's only fair that communities like Singleton, who are so affected by this industry, be adequately compensated."
Through its Advocacy Agenda, Singleton Council proactively lobbied for changes to the Resources for Region program which included the removal of a co-contribution and benefit costs ratios, a fixed percentage of the total pool for mining-affected communities based on the level of actual mining activity occurring within an area, and the introduction of programs alongside infrastructure projects which provided opportunities for employment and skills training for job seekers, assistance for small businesses and community support.
Cr Moore said she was hopeful that the creation of the new $350million Regional Development Trust Fund to support communities in rural and regional NSW will deliver much needed funding for Singleton.
"As a mining community, it's important that State Government funding flow back into Singleton as an acknowledgement of the integral role we play in the continued prosperity of NSW, and to help us on the path to the economic and social evolution for generations to come, building our region for a time when mining may be a smaller component of our economic output," she said.
"We will continue to work with the State Government to identify funding opportunities to improve the liveability, amenity and infrastructure of the Singleton community."
Singleton and Muswellbrook account for a combined total of 43 per cent of NSW's coal mining output, which in 2021 amounted to more than $18billion of the State's mining output total of almost $40billion (Remplan Economic Output Estimates 2021 Release 3).
Close to $25.29 million was injected into the Singleton local government area through Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the Resources for Regions program. To view the full list of projects visit www.singleton.nsw.gov.au/Council/Community-Funding-Programs/Resources-for-Regions