Mining Revenue Headed To More Regional Areas
More towns in New South Wales look set to benefit from the government’s Resources for Regions funding program after a review recommended the broadening of the eligibility criteria.
Prior to the election, the Coalition promised to spend up to $160 million in its first term on local infrastructure projects in mining-affected communities.
But in two years just two councils, Muswellbrook and Singleton in the Hunter Valley, have received a total of $10 million.
The Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner says the latest annual assessment has recommended other areas should be eligible.
They include Cobar, Narrabri, Lithgow, Mid-Western and Newcastle local government areas.
Mr Stoner says it is not an admission that the scheme has failed to get the funding out fast enough.
“The program is a first ever in New South Wales and it will draw funds from a pool of funds we call Restart NSW,” he said.
“We’re raising funds to put into Restart, last year it was $10 million.
“This year I’m confident it will be a lot more.
Mr Stoner says the inclusion of regions ‘indirectly’ affected by mining, like Newcastle, will not mean a lesser focus on those areas most affected.
He says the mining communities of the Upper Hunter will start to see more money soon.
“I’m confident that we’ll see an increase in funding for our resources for the regions program this year.
“The approved regions, including Newcastle, Muswellbrook and Singleton will get a significant amount.
“I’m just not in a position to reveal how much, that’ll come out in the state budget.”