State Budget must address decline in investment in NSW

April 22, 2014

The NSW Budget must include measures to address the sharp drop in NSW mining investment over the last two years.

The NSW Minerals Council’s 2014-15 NSW State Budget submission warns that a continued downturn in mining capital investment will damage the state economy and put thousands of jobs at risk.

“Mining in NSW represents the state’s most valuable export industry.  The sector employs over 90,000  people in NSW and mining companies spent around $12.8 billion across the state on wages and business purchases in the last financial year, including $3.2 billion in Sydney,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.

“However, mining investment in NSW has fallen sharply and jobs have been lost. The upcoming NSW budget must include measures to address this or risk long term damage to the state economy.”

“Mining is experiencing tough conditions, partly due to global factors, including low commodity prices and a high Australian dollar. At the same time, some policies of the former federal government and the current NSW Government have made tough times tougher, leading to around 2,000 mining jobs lost in NSW,” Mr Galilee said.

“First and foremost the 2014-15 NSW State Budget must not impose any new taxes, fees and charges on the industry.  Two years ago the industry was ambushed with unexpected new fees and levies totalling nearly $80 million over four years. This was a significant impost on an industry already facing many external challenges,” he said.

“These revenues were supposed to improve service delivery and community engagement as well as continue exploration funding programs. Despite assurances, the industry does not believe it has received the benefits or improved service levels these fees and levies were supposed to provide.”

“Any new fees would be a further body-blow to NSW mining, risking investment and jobs,” he said.

“The NSW Budget must also continue improving public infrastructure in mining communities. The $160 million Resources for Regions program has been a welcome first step, however more needs to be done.”  

“The current program eligibility must be expanded to include additional mining communities. In particular, areas like Gunnedah, Broken Hill, Cessnock, Maitland and Lake Macquarie should be eligible for the program,” Mr Galilee said.

“The Budget must also allocate the resources needed to fix the NSW planning system. Thousands of potential jobs are at risk due to the failure of the planning system in NSW. If we are to attract investment in NSW mining projects and create jobs, the planning system must be fixed as a matter of urgency.”

“Mining does have a strong future in NSW. We have a world class mining workforce, and a long history of safe and innovative practices. We have some of the best minerals deposits in the world and good access to infrastructure. We have longstanding trading relationships with established economies like Japan, Taiwan and Korea, as well as with the growing economic powerhouses of India and China.”

“Mining has the potential to boost our state economy and create thousands of new jobs.  However, this will require the right policy settings from the NSW Government,” Mr Galilee said.”

Contact: Chris Rath | crath@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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