Despite the mining industry being forecast to inject $13.2 billion into the state’s coffers over the next four years, the Resources for Regions program has been scrapped.
The funding pool provided Councils who were impacted by mining with millions of dollars for community projects, groups and programs.
But, the program has been left out of NSW Labor’s first Budget.
Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore says she is “devastated” to see the grant program has been slashed from the State Budget.
Singleton Council benefitted from more than $25 million through the scheme in just the last three rounds of funding.
“Resources for Regions has proved to be a successful mechanism to deliver a fair return to our community for the daily and unavoidable impacts of mining. Issues including air quality, traffic congestion, visual impairment and reputation are matters that affect us so much more as a result of being where the mining activity actually occurs,” she said.
“Considering the significant amount of royalties generated from our region, and given the government will raise coal royalties by an estimated $2.7billion over the next four years, it’s only fair that communities like Singleton, who are so affected by this industry, be adequately compensated.”
The NSW Minerals Council is disappointed as well, especially considering the coal royalty hike.
“These cuts will negatively impact mining communities, and hinder the development of further long-term regional economic opportunities,” said CEO Stephen Galilee.
“The abolition of the ‘Resources for Regions’ program will directly affect the quality of life of all people living in the 26 local government areas previously eligible for program funding.
“This was an important program that delivered funding worth hundreds of millions over many years to local councils representing mining communities, helping to provide improved local infrastructure and services.”