State Budget must restore confidence in NSW mining

June 17, 2015

The NSW Budget must include measures to restore investor confidence in NSW, and ensure our State is well placed to respond to growing demand for minerals resources. 
The NSW Minerals Council’s 2015-16 State Budget submission highlights that the potential benefits of strong demand for our mineral deposits are at risk due to our State’s perceived competitive disadvantage on regulation. 
International demand for thermal coal in particular is forecast to increase substantially over the coming decades. Our position as a producer of high quality coal offers great potential for jobs and growth, especially as markets such as India upgrade their coal fired power stations to advanced ‘supercritical’ technology. However, we must get the policy settings right, or NSW will miss out on the growth, investment and jobs that this opportunity represents.
“Mining in NSW is the state’s most valuable export industry.  The sector employs 35,000  people in NSW and mining companies spent around $13.6 billion across the state on wages and business purchases in the last financial year, including $3.3 billion in Sydney,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said.
“Despite being a supplier of some of the world's highest quality coal and minerals, NSW ranks second last of all Australian jurisdictions in the highly respected Fraser Institute’s ‘Investment Attractiveness’ index,” Mr Galilee said. 
“Reform of the planning system is crucial to restoring this lost confidence in the mining sector. The Premier’s commitment to fix the planning system must translate to improvements on the ground. The pendulum has swung too far and the focus should now be on streamlining the assessment process, removing red tape, consolidating fees and charges, and restoring confidence in NSW.”
“A sustainable exploration sector is also important to the NSW resources industry. Ongoing delays in finalising the new framework to allocate coal exploration licences is a further constraint,” Mr Galilee said.
“The State Government must also address the supplementary royalties scheme. This scheme was introduced to compensate the Government for the budget impacts of the carbon tax. Now that the carbon tax is gone, the supplementary royalties scheme is redundant and should be repealed.” 
“The State Government must commit to further improving public infrastructure in regional mining communities. The Resources for Regions program has been a welcome first step, however there is still more to be done. More funding is needed, and the program eligibility should be expanded to include additional mining communities. In particular, the local government areas of Gunnedah and Lake Macquarie should be eligible for the program. 
“Commodity prices will recover, allowing NSW to capitalise on the growing demand for our minerals, with potential to boost our state economy and create thousands of new jobs. However, this requires the right policy settings from the NSW Government,” Mr Galilee said.
Contact: Nat Openshaw | | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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