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June 14, 2024 10:38 PM

Anger at Resources for Regions Axing

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Singleton mayor Sue Moore

BY DI SNEDDON

Singleton Council is expected to unanimously support a mayoral minute at its October council meeting demanding Resources for Regions be reinstated.

The program, that has delivered $25.29million to Singleton over the past three years, was scrapped in the State budget delivered last month.

Instead there is a new $350million Regional Development Trust and the $250 million Working Regions Fund.  Unlike Resources for Regions that was restricted to 26 mining regions, these two new funds will be open to all regions.

Singleton Mayor Sue Moore said it is the community who will now miss out after the State Government scrapped Resources for Regions.

“It is the community that will suffer, there will be a whole heap of programs that won’t happen, programs delivered by the Business Singleton, Soldier On, the showground, rugby park, the rural halls, the community has had the rug pulled out from under it,” Cr Moore told The Hunter River Times.

“Singleton has offered some unique training opportunities, especially for business, and we couldn’t do these without this funding, it is not just council that should be standing up for our community, everyone should be,” Cr Moore said. 

Singleton Council has worked closely with the NSW Government in recent years to deliver positive reform to the program, which ensures communities that are directly affected by mining activities receive their fair share of the royalties generated from their region.

Through its Advocacy Agenda, Singleton Council proactively lobbied for changes to the Resources for Region program which included the removal of a co-contribution and benefit costs ratios, a fixed percentage of the total pool for mining-affected communities based on the level of actual mining activity occurring within an area, and the introduction of programs alongside infrastructure projects which provided opportunities for employment and skills training for job seekers, assistance for small businesses and community support.

Singleton and Muswellbrook account for a combined total of 43 per cent of NSW’s coal mining output, which in 2021 amounted to more than $18billion of the State’s mining output total of almost $40billion (Remplan Economic Output Estimates 2021 Release 3).

“As a mining community, it’s important that State Government funding flow back into Singleton as an acknowledgement of the integral role we play in the continued prosperity of NSW, and to help us on the path to the economic and social evolution for generations to come, building our region for a time when mining may be a smaller component of our economic output,” she said.

Cr Moore’s disappointment was shared by NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee.

Mining royalties are forecast to deliver the NSW government $13.2 billion over the next four years, including $2.7 billion from higher royalty rates to be introduced from July 1, 2024.

Mr Galilee said the billions delivered in royalty revenue was only possible due to the contribution of the hard working people of regional mining communities.

“Without our mining workers, their families and their communities, there would be no mining, and no royalties,” he said.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that despite the extra billions to be delivered in mining royalties, the Budget cuts several key mining-related funding programs.

“These cuts will negatively impact mining communities and hinder the development of further long-term regional economic opportunities,” he said.

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