More needs to be done to protect NSW mining: Galilee

An industry survey of  the top 26 mining companies in NSW has found they contributed around $12.8 billion on wages, goods and services last financial year but the NSW minerals council said more needs to be done to protect the industry.

The direct spending included $3.1 billion spent on wages, and over $9.7 billion in spending on goods and services with over 10,500 local businesses across the state.

Revealing the survey results at the NSW Mining Industry and Suppliers Conference in Sydney, NSW Minerals Council chief, Stephen Galilee said it was clear that mining played a vital role in the state.

It is estimated that the Hunter Valley region received $6.3 billion or almost half of NSW mining spending on wages and goods and services in 2012-13, followed by Sydney which received $3.2 billion, the Illawarra with $1.4 billion, the Central West with $1 billion and the North Western region with $376 million.

The survey found that direct and indirect mining industry spending contributed around 36 per cent of the Gross Regional Product of the Hunter, 19 per cent of the GRP in the Central West, 30 per cent of the GRP of the Far West of NSW, 17 per cent of the GRP in the Illawarra and 4 per cent of the GRP in Northern NSW.

“It’s a clear demonstration of the benefits that mining brings to many people who never see an operating mine in their lives,” Galilee told the conference.

“Mining is a strategic industry for New South Wales.

“It’s an industry that helped build this state and an industry that this state cannot do without.”

Galilee said while mining was a cyclical industry and not much could be done about falling commodity prices, bad policy decisions had helped to burden the sector with red tape, excessive taxes and planning uncertainty.

Galilee said he looked forward to closing the sad chapter on the carbon tax as promised by the federal government, but stated more needed to be done at a state level in order to keep the industry strong.

“The new Federal government’s commitment to abolish the job-destroying carbon tax and get rid of the mining tax are of course very welcome, as is the associated promise from the New South Wales government to remove the supplementary coal royalty,” Galilee said.

“The proposed one-stop shop for environmental assessments that will be progressed in cooperation with the federal and state governments will also reduce red and green tape to simplify our assessments process."

However Galilee said a much more “coordinated, cohesive and committed approach to policy for our industry in this state is needed”.

Taking aim at the NSW government’s 2021 state plan, Galilee said the document contained "ambitious economic targets for the state but barely mentions mining”.

He said the government’s associated regulatory framework included six point industry action plans for professional services, manufacturing, education and research the visitor economy, the digital economy and the creative industries, and stated while these industries are important, so is the resource sector.

“…mining is also important to the New South Wales economy and it should have its own industry action plan,” he said.

“It’s time to get serious about delivering the right policy settings for mining in New South Wales, it’s time for an industry action plan for mining in New South Wales.”

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