June 20, 2024 8:47 PM

Wish List for Upper Hunter


Rebecca Hartshorne, 87, pictured with fellow Merriwa CWA member Carroll Short.

There are so many things that need addressing in the Upper Hunter and three councils have put together their advocacy plan and demand these discussions be included in by-election considerations and conversations.

For Muswellbrook, the number one priority is health.  It can take three weeks to get an appointment with a GP and presentations to the local hospital’s emergency department are increasingly addressing acute cases.  These are cases for people whose health issues should have been addressed must earlier. 

Then there are the cases for those wishing to give birth locally.  Most women are sent to Maitland Hospital to do so, unable to access basic medical support at their own hospital.

Muswellbrook Council general manager Fiona Plesman says obstetrics and paediatrician services are a basic need for her community.

“It is not like we are in an isolated area, we need to have these medical services available to our community here in Muswellbrook,” she said.

Other issues Muswellbrook Council would like to see addressed are: water security and the building of a pipleline to connect Denman to Sandy Hollow and improve water licensing arrangements plus the construction of a Water Treatment Plant to provide supply to the broader Upper Hunter; advance of education programs including expansion of the town’s STEM pilot program that will require funding for additional teachers; increased police numbers to ensure police service is adequately staffed and not diverted to other duties such as transporting prisoners from the St Heliers detention centre.

Singleton Council has provided all political parties with its Advocacy Agenda.

Among the items they would like to see addressed are: an increased level of train services to include six return options from Sydney and Newcastle on weekdays and four on weekends; investment in substantially increased police infrastructure to the police station, restoration of Jerrys Plains police residence to restore full-time police presence in the village and to provide appropriate staffing for Singleton Court House to provide full-time operation to administer justice to modern standards; expand health services, invest in an infusion room for chemotherapy, instal an MRI machine and significantly improve mental health services in Singleton, particularly for the 12 to 25 year age group; increase the stock of affordable housing options across Singleton to cater for all demographics including age and levels of income; and Increase resources, staffing and services to improve provision of vocational training and integration with education providers including schools, trade training programs and to commit to ongoing support for a TAFE campus in Singleton to provide a range of adult learning.

Upper Hunter Needs

The massive list of needs for the Upper Hunter Shire and probably reflect years of underfunding.

The list includes: addressing more than 1000 km of unsealed roads; repair of sealed roads; construct an overpass from Kelly Street to Muffett Street to eliminate use of heavy vehicles through the CBD; upgrade Ti-TreeCreek Bridge and Allen Bridge; improvements to various sporting grounds and venues; barbecues and shelters at Merriwa Rotary park and garden improvements to Bettington Street Park; footpath and cycleway improvements; pool upgrades at Merriwa, Murrurundi and Scone; major capital investment in water supply, water treatment plants and sewerage schemes across the Local Government Area; a new library for Scone; and addressing demand for new landfill sites for both Merriwa and Murrurundi.

A full list of the needs is on The Hunter River Times Website which will provide plenty of food for thought for those wanting to represent the region.