MPs call for mining royalty return 

Two crossbench MPs who share the balance of power in NSW Parliament’s upper house say the state government should return more mining royalties to the regions for investment in infrastructure.

Shooters and Fishers MPs Robert Brown and Robert Borsak said yesterday they had raised with Premier Barry O’Farrell’s office their belief that a set percentage of royalties should be reinvested into regional NSW.

They favour Western Australia’s royalties for regions scheme, which returns 25per cent of mining and onshore petroleum royalties into regions across the state.

In contrast, the NSW government has promised a four-year $160million ‘‘Resources for Regions’’ program for mining-affected communities, but has so far committed $9.9million to two projects in Singleton and Muswellbrook.

Mr Brown said shires  were feeling the pressure of mining activities on their roads and other infrastructure, and the government should do more to support them. 

The pair have suggested the government appoint Infrastructure NSW board member Roger Fletcher, and representatives of the Shires Association of NSW, the United Services Union and the NSW Farmers Association.

‘‘We want it allocated on a non-partisan basis, in other words, to [ensure] that it wasn’t going to be used in particular seats by the National Party,’’ Mr Brown said.

 Treasurer Mike Baird said the government, in consultation with the crossbench and Infrastructure NSW, would ensure regional projects were assessed.

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