I was both shocked and saddened to learn Singleton will lose Lindy Hyam as the Council’s General Manager.  I suppose all good things must eventually come to an end and we were lucky to have Lindy at all.  Originally a temporary stop-gap appointment, she fell in love with Singleton and we fell in love with having her here.

Lindy’s shoes will be very big to fill but she has generously given Council time to shop around.  I wish Lindy and David all the very best for a long and happy semi-retirement.

Those who oppose coal mining in the Hunter often argue we should be striving towards more economic diversity.  Of course we should, always. 

But let us not have it that we lack diversity, we don’t; retail, agriculture, manufacturing, thoroughbred breeding, viticulture, construction, accommodation and food services to name a few. 

Indeed, the retail, manufacturing and construction sectors all employ more than does mining.  Having said that, it’s important to note that many of our businesses rely heavily on the mining sector.  Indeed, according to the Hunter Valley Research Foundation, sixty percent of businesses in the Upper Hunter are dependent on coal mining.

So it is true that coal mining ads to our diversity.  Why would we want less of an industry that delivers high incomes to so many?  The only argument that could be mounted is to suggest the mining sector is sucking up too much of the workforce and denying other sectors employees.  While this has been true during short periods including the construction phase of the most recent mining boom, it is not generally true.

In any case, while we would all like the mining companies to do more, the mining sector provides a not insignificant amount of training locally.  The big mistake was for government not to invest more of the mining boom into skills training in areas common to both mining and other sectors.  We started doing so from 2007 but for almost thirteen years John Howard did just the opposite.

The collapse of coal prices has given us a taste of what the Hunter would be like without the mining sector.  Let’s hope last week’s speculation about worse to come proves unfounded!

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The Scholarship is valued at over $3000 each year for two years and includes:
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Do you know female students entering Year 9 who could achieve more with some extra support?

Information and applications forms for the Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship and many other scholarships for students in Australian Public Schools are now available on the Public Education Foundation website.

Applications will be accepted until 27 November 2015.

Applications are now open for cash grants of up to $20,000 from Australia’s largest rail-based transport business, Aurizon.

All eligible non-profit and charity groups with projects based on safety, education, environment or health and wellbeing are encouraged to apply for the latest round of grants offered through Aurizon’s Community Giving Fund.

Over 180 community groups across Australia have received cash grants through Aurizon’s Community Giving Fund to support local projects since its inception four years ago.

Applications for the Community Giving Fund close at 5pm AEDST Friday 23 October 2015.

To apply visit

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To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.

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