Responsible NSW Budget but challenges remain

June 18, 2013

The NSW Government’s 2013-14 Budget has been welcomed by the NSW Minerals Council as an important step in bringing the state’s finances under control and injecting some valuable investment into the mining regions that contribute so much to the NSW economy.
“This is a responsible budget.  The Treasurer should be commended for restoring the fiscal fundamentals to NSW, including reductions in spending growth and debt levels,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
“The Government is also to be commended for keeping its commitment on the supplementary coal royalties which has been revised to zero due to lower commonwealth mining tax estimates.”
“Despite this, the industry is very disappointed in the deferred abolition of IGA taxes, which will impose a $1.5 billion tax burden on businesses across the NSW economy, including NSW mining.”
“The Budget papers confirm that NSW miners contributed around $1.3 billion in mining royalties to the state economy in 2012-13. We therefore warmly welcome the Government’s commitment of $120 million for mining communities as part of Resources for Regions.  We encourage the Government to ensure that the funding is allocated to mining areas in need of critical public infrastructure improvement,” Mr Galilee said.
“The two tranches of funding of $40 million and $80 million and a firm timeline on funding announcements provide a degree of certainty for local communities as they apply for investment.”
Mr Galilee also noted that there was still $60 million to be allocated as part of the Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund (HIIF).
“The Upper Hunter in particular needs direct investment in public infrastructure.  We are encouraging the government to ensure that communities like Singleton and Muswellbrook benefit from direct investment as part of the HIIF as well as Resources for Regions,” Mr Galilee said.
“Policies that support mining will be needed if the Government is to achieve forecast increases in mining royalty revenues of nearly 16% in 2013-14 and nearly 13% in the four years to 2016-17.”
“NSW miners are dealing with a number of challenges, chiefly the need for a new state planning system that delivers certainty for valuable mining projects. The current planning system review is an opportunity for the NSW Government to deliver a positive outcome for all significant industries across the economy and importantly to support mining and the jobs it creates.”
“We welcome the additional funding of $5.3 million for the Planning Assessment Commission and would hope that this will help provide more certainty for NSW Mining with regard to planning.

“With regard to the leasing of the Newcastle Port, as the major user and a key stakeholder we will be paying close attention to the Government’s proposed process and leasing model and would expect to be fully engaged throughout the lease process.  Obviously the economic viability of leasing the Newcastle Port would not be possible without a strong coal industry.” Mr Galilee said.
“$19 million for research and development of low emissions technology is welcomed, as is the $8.5 million for the New Frontiers pre-exploration data collection program. However the bulk of this New Frontiers funding is provided by charges on industry and not the Government.”
“Mining is our State’s most valuable export industry and provides nearly 85 per cent of the electricity needed to power homes and businesses across NSW. Most people in NSW do understand that mining is an essential contributor to the economic strength of our State.  While the challenge of implementing an efficient planning system remains to be met, this budget is a positive step forward in support of NSW mining.”

Contact: Lindsay Hermes I I 0409 758 734

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