OPINION | Hunter mining helps underpin NSW's economy

“Where goes New South Wales mining, there goes the New South Wales economy.”

With these words, Energy, Resources, Utilities and Arts Minister Don Harwin opened the recent New South Wales Mining Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference in the Hunter Valley.  

The minister is right. Our local mining industry in the Hunter and across New South Wales underpins the strength of the state economy, delivering jobs and investment, as well as royalty revenue to the New South Wales government to help fund public infrastructure and essential services.

In June, the New South Wales budget confirmed record mining royalties strengthening our state’s economic position, helping fill a decline in stamp duty revenue from a slowing Sydney property market.

Mining royalties were revised up by $813 million, delivering a record $1.8 billion in this year alone and another record $2 billion next year, to help fund improved services across the state.

Total mining royalties are expected to be about $7.4 billion over the next four years.

It’s a massive funding injection for the government that will help pay for better services across New South Wales.

The $7.4 billion in mining royalties over the next four years can fund the bulk of the New South Wales government’s key budget commitments on education.

This includes the promised $6 billion for 170 new and upgraded schools and the $500 million promise to deliver air-conditioning in 1000 schools.

Similarly, the $7.4 billion in mining royalties can fund almost all of the New South Wales government’s $8 billion budget commitments for better health facilities, including funding for 40 new and upgraded hospitals across NSW like John Hunter Hospital, $700 million for a mental health infrastructure program and $150 million into research to fight cardiovascular disease.

While it’s great to see the mining sector making such a big economic contribution, it’s also important that mining regions like the Hunter get a fair share.

Programs like Resources for Regions are helping to deliver this, and the NSW Minerals Council will continue to work with local mining communities and the New South Wales government to secure more benefits for the people of the Hunter.

Stephen Galilee is chief executive officer of the NSW Minerals Council.