Minerals Council calls for more funding to regional mining communities

The NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) 2016/17 Budget Submission has outlined more infrastructure funding for mining communities in regional NSW to strengthen economic development.

This is one of seven main priorities in the submission which also includes more funding on exploration activities and better support for aboriginal communities.

NSWMC CEO Stephen Galilee said the majority of regional NSW depends on mining activities for jobs and economic growth.

“The mining regions of NSW deliver over $1 billion each year in mining royalties to the NSW Government, and they deserve greater support,” he said.

The council emphasised the need for the State Government to tackle the imbalance between infrastructure funding in Sydney and regional mining communities more seriously.

“Given the NSW government is spending up big on convention centres, light rail lines and road tunnels in Sydney, mining communities in the Hunter, Illawarra, Central West, and other regions should also receive more funding for their infrastructure needs,” Galilee said.

Only four per cent of the $5.4 billion in mining royalties received by the NSW Government within the last four years has been returned to regional areas under the Resources for Regions program.

The program has provided $208 million to 32 infrastructure projects in rural and regional mining communities since 2012.

Galilee is calling on the State Government to commit at least $60 million a year to the Resources for Region program in the upcoming June Budget.

The Minerals Council submission is also seeking an extra $5 million per year on minerals exploration to boost future economic development in regional areas, as well as calling on the NSW government to deliver on previous commitments to streamline industry fees, charges, and levies.

Another priority is the added support of aboriginal communities living in or nearby regional communities, particularly through better funding for the Clontarf Foundation which aims to improve the education, life skills, and employment possibilities of young Aboriginal men.

This year’s Federal Budget showed support for the resources industry, with the Federal Government’s National Resources Development Strategy – Exploring for the Future program. The initiative will provide $100 million to Geoscience Australia to map mineral and energy potential in the nation, boosting productivity and competitiveness in the sector.

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