Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell has joined his Bathurst counterpart Paul Toole in imploring the NSW Government to “look after” their coal mining towns.
The pair, both members of The Nationals, are concerned proposed changes to royalties in the state could have an adverse effect on their respective electorates.
So, they’re seeking assurances from Premier Chris Minns’ team to not only ensure their communities’ long-term future but safeguard local jobs, too.
Currently, the Upper Hunter and Bathurst boast NSW’s largest coal mining regions.
Their stance comes after the Minister for Resources Courtney Houssos, who is also the Minister for Finance, recently failed to answer a simple question in Parliament.
“She was asked if the government would guarantee that no coal mine will close prematurely, threatening regional jobs, trade, energy security and energy prices, due to any new royalty scheme imposed from 1 July 2024 onwards,” Mr Toole said.
“Unfortunately, she couldn’t do that.
“I know for fact the Lithgow mining community cannot pay the price for the government’s determination to fund its pet projects, while it takes the axe to vital regional support like Resources for Regions.
“The current royalties’ regime already ensures companies pay their fair share, with higher coal prices delivering record receipts in the recently-ended financial year.
“There is no justification for raising royalty rates at a time when coal prices have moderated.”
Mr Layzell agreed.
“Mining is the backbone of the Upper Hunter,” he said.
“So, any hikes to royalty rates could threaten the workforce and investment, and result in premature mine closures.
“That would cost the state even more money in lost payments.
“We have seen Queensland’s greedy grab for coal mining cash kill investment, attack jobs and force mine closures.
“The NSW Government must give a commitment that will not be repeated here.
“Communities like mine and Mr Toole’s help keep the lights on, ensuring energy and job security.
“However, that is all threatened by a hike in royalties.
“Mr Minns and his government should guarantee that no mines will close prematurely because of any increase in mining royalties.”
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