Racing and wine bodies reject mine research

THE Hunter wine and racing industries have hit back at research that suggests NSW would lose $1 billion a year in royalties and 8000 jobs if agricultural land was protected from mining.

A NSW Minerals Council submission to the state government on its draft Strategic Regional Land Use policy to protect farming lands claims NSW could suffer if the policy is adopted.

It said that under a medium impact-scenario, the draft Strategic Regional Land Use policy would hit NSW government revenues by $1 billion a year in royalties for the next 20 years.

The draft plans would also cut a full 1 per cent from the state’s forecasted economic growth in 2018, lower consumption and investment and result in more than 8000 fewer jobs, it said.

The figures are based on research undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Monash University for the council.

Hunter Wine Industry Association president Andrew Margan said their own financial analysis showed the state government would lose $20 million if winemakers walked off the land and coal seam gas flourished.

He said the wine industry was a major employer and contributed much by way of payroll tax and goods and services tax.

‘‘A lot of these mining industries aren’t employing lots of people, they’re quite machine-oriented,’’ he said.

‘‘At any given time a coalmine only has 25 people underground.’’

He said the research was just scare tactics from big miners.

The association welcomed the land use policy but felt it did not do enough to deter mining applications, he said.

Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association president Wayne Bedggood said he was not surprised with the mining council’s stance.

‘‘It’s pretty much expected,’’ he said.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee said slowing the state’s biggest export industry would have an impact that would be felt right across the economy.

‘‘Losing a billion dollars a year is a big budget cost that will hit hard,’’ Mr Galilee said.

‘‘To put this in context, current mining royalties of $1.2 billion a year are estimated to be enough to fund 13,000 nurses or 11,000 teachers or 2500 buses every single year.’’

These findings form part of the council’s submission on the plan.

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