Broken Hill City Council has backed calls from Barwon MP Roy Butler for mining towns to get a bigger slice of the pie after the Resources for Regions program was scrapped in the most recent New South Wales state budget.
“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,” Mr Butler said in his budget response.
“These funds still exist and the review process over the next four months needs to recognise that Councils with mining experience impacts that need additional financial support.”
The program, which has delivered almost $15 million to various infrastructure projects across Broken Hill over the last decade, has been replaced by the $350 million Regional Development Trust and the $250 million Working Regions Fund.
Mayor Tom Kennedy raised concerns about this move at the most recent Council meeting highlighting that increased competition for access to both new funds could see mining towns, such as Broken Hill, miss out on crucial funding in favour of communities closer to the state’s capital.
“Broken Hill will be subject to increased competition for this funding. This includes areas that are close to Sydney which will maybe get a lion’s share,” Mayor Kennedy said.
“I would hope that the NSW Labor government acknowledges the importance of mining communities and priority is given to those 26 communities when they go for funding under the new system.”
With an increase in royalty rates, it has been forecast that $13.2 billion will be delivered to the state government from mining in the next four years.