The New South Wales Minerals Council is calling on the State Government to reconsider the eligibility criteria for what constitutes a mining affected area under its Resources for Regions funding program.
Currently the RfR program filters investment into the State’s mining regions based on royalties raised in the local government area or mining truck movements.
The Minerals Council is proposing mining employment be added as an assessment indicator, saying it will ensure more mining affected communities receive funding to support infrastructure projects.
“NSWMC suggests that once an LGA has reached a threshold number of employees, or percentage of regional employment generated directly and indirectly by mining, it should be considered to be mining affected,” Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee stated.
Since being introduced in 2012 mining communities like Muswellbrook and Singleton in the state’s Hunter Valley have received $26.5 million in funding for hospital upgrades, road improvements and streetscape renewals.
But other areas affected by mining miss out on funding as they do not meet the current eligibility criteria, the Minerals Council explains.
“Examples of ineligible LGAs include communities such as Cessnock, Parkes, Maitland, Broken Hill, Gunnedah and Lake Macquarie – all communities with a significant mining workforce,” it said.
“In Maitland and Cessnock, for example, more than one in every three employees is supported by mining, but these areas are not able to apply for additional infrastructure funding through the program.”