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Hunter councils launch joint appeal for continuation of vital mining program

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The community leaders of two Hunter LGAs are joining forces with the NSW Minerals Council to ensure their respective towns continue to benefit from a government initiative.

Singleton mayor Sue Moore and her Muswellbrook Shire counterpart Steve Reynolds met with Stephen Galilee recently to discuss a combined call to maintain the Resources for Regions program.

The duo has also invited NSW Premier Chris Minns to visit their LGAs to showcase the advantages of the scheme, particularly since reforms were introduced in 2020 that eliminated the need for co-contributions and a benefit cost ratio.

The changes provided for a fixed percentage of the total pool for mining-affected communities based on the level of actual mining activity occurring within an area, too.

Presently, Singleton and Muswellbrook account for a combined total of 43% of NSW’s coal output, which in 2021 amounted to more than $18 billion of the state’s mining output total of almost $40 billion.

Cr Moore said it was critical for the program to remain, recognising the importance of mining to the state’s economy and the daily implications on air quality, roads, amenity and reputation for communities where mining activity actually occurs.

“That industry makes a huge contribution to the prosperity of everyone in NSW,” she explained.

“So, it’s only fair that the considerable royalties from our regions are compensated to assist the people who live in our towns and have to deal with the daily impacts of mining.

“We’ve seen the benefits of Resources for Regions as the mechanism to deliver a return on the investment from our community that makes mining possible.

“We’re very proud of the approach we’ve taken in Singleton to make the program about the community by extending the opportunity for funding for a range of projects in partnership with local organisations.

“And, I’d be only too pleased to show the Premier, Mr Minns, just how the initiative is having a real impact on people on the ground.”

Cr Reynolds said Resources for Regions was a critical source for infrastructure, as well as helping to lay the foundations for ongoing vitality into the future.

“We are all aware of the conversations happening at a global level about the future of energy,” he added.

“While mining will always be part of our economy, we need to be ready for any shifts that may occur that we have no control over.

“We’re very keen to show Mr Minns just what action we’re taking at a local level to support our communities, and to showcase how Resources for Regions is providing a vital injection now to help us on the path to the economic and social evolution for generations to come.

“We need it to continue in the same format, so that we can continue to work with the state government to deliver what our community needs and deserves.

“Taking it away would be an insult.”

Mr Galilee agreed with the pair.

“Over the past decade, Resources for Regions has helped fund many beneficial projects that have improved the quality of life for people living and working in the Hunter and in other mining communities across NSW,” the NSW Minerals Council CEO said.

“The program enjoys strong public support in regional NSW and we hope it is able to continue to deliver further local benefits in the future.”

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