NSW to speed mine planning approvals

The NSW 2015 State Budget has allocated $17 million to speed up the assessment of mining projects.

The NSW Minerals Council has re-emphasised their call for planning reforms which enable greater ease for the mining approvals process.

Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee welcomed the commitment by state premier Mike Baird to halve the time taken for the assessment of significant mining projects in NSW.

“It’s important that this funding is now used to deliver real reform,” Galilee said.

“In the Hunter alone, over 1800 jobs have been hanging in the balance for over three years, stuck in the broken planning system.

“Across NSW, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates around 20,000 current and potential mining-related jobs are caught up in a state planning system that moves with glacial speed.”

However, Galilee expressed his concern that mining revenues were $300 million lower than revenue forecasts by Treasury.

“Last year we warned that the Treasury forecasts on royalties were overly optimistic, and we have been proven right,” he said.

“This year the Treasury is forecasting mining royalties to grow by around 12 per cent on average over the forward estimates, and to deliver nearly $6 billion to NSW taxpayers over the next four years.”

“This again, is very optimistic considering expectations of moderate growth in world coal prices.

“Although demand for NSW coal will continue to rise, export volumes will not deliver the forecast revenues unless key mining projects are approved in NSW.”

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