The Opposition are calling for an urgent investigation after the NSW Auditor-General reported an $8 million loss from additional coal royalties not collected over a five year period.
Green MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the review has uncovered flaws in coal companies accessing their own royalties and has criticised state departments for their handling of the practise.
"This report clearly shows that Industry & Investment NSW does not have the competence to deal with the complexities and responsibilities of overseeing mining operations in NSW," said Ms Faehrmann.
"The department is not taking its responsibilities seriously and instead seems to be operating for the sole benefit of mining companies.
The report shows an estimated $8 million should have been collected from mining companies, but the Industry & Investment NSW does not have systems in place to monitor if the amounts being paid are correct.
The report by Auditor General Peter Achterstraat shows more than 70 per cent of the royalties came from the Hunter Valley, with nearly $900 million in coal royalty revenue collected between 2008 and 2009 and just over $20 million in Gloucester.
Mining royalties make up 2.6 per cent of the total revenue received by the New South Wales government.
The Oppositions’ Primary Industries and Energy spokesperson says the money could have been well spent in the state, if it had been collected correctly.
"It could have gone into hospitals, roads, police, security, any number of places.
"Eight million dollars somewhere in the State budget would have been terrific."
Faehrmann says the current system is unacceptable, with big businesses getting away with millions of taxpayer dollars.
"It’s unbelievable that the department allows mining companies to self-assess the royalties they owe to the people of NSW.
"The mineral resources of NSW are owned by people of NSW. The mining companies pay royalties to exploit these.
"Welfare recipients face harsh penalties if they make the smallest errors in their submissions to Centrelink. It is an outrage that the department is so lax in collecting the monies owed by coal companies.”
She says the report has indicated an urgent investigation into Industry and Investment NSW is necessary.