Today’s NSW State Budget confirms mining continues to deliver for the people of NSW, with minerals royalties expected to deliver record revenues in 2022-23.
The Budget also includes a range of welcome initiatives that will help foster a strong mining sector into the future, and support mining communities.
The Budget includes an estimated all-time high of $4.05 billion in revenue from minerals royalties in 2022-23, up nearly $400m from the previous year.
Over $11 billion in minerals royalty revenue is now expected to 2025-26. This is $3.8 billion higher than previous Treasury forecasts and represents a strong dividend for the people of NSW that flows from a strong mining sector.
Minerals royalties help underpin the NSW Government’s fiscal strategy through the provision of strong ongoing revenues into the NSW Generations Fund. This allows the NSW Government to offset debt to deliver its record infrastructure spending program, helping to build schools, roads and hospitals across NSW.
The NSW Government deserves credit for maintaining minerals royalty rates at current levels. This sends a strong and positive signal for future job-generating mining investment in NSW, and is in contrast to the approach being taken by the Queensland Government.
The $220 million for an expanded Resources for Regions program over the next three years will deliver improvements to infrastructure and services in mining communities, and a better standard of living for mining families across NSW.
The $130 million Critical Minerals Activation Fund has the potential to unlock significant future opportunities and growth and diversification of mining in NSW, taking advantage of the growing demand for metals and minerals needed to support technology and innovation including batteries, electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure.
The creation of a new $106.7 million Biodiversity Supply Fund is also welcome. This will help ensure biodiversity credits are easier to secure. The mining industry has been calling for the NSW Government to take a greater role in supporting landholders to create credits and to act as an intermediary in the market and while more funding will be needed over time, this Budget announcement is a good start.
The $10 million in funding for geoscientific advice and support will help encourage further investment in exploration, helping NSW to compete with other states and drive greater investment in the mines of tomorrow.
NSW has been gradually improving its share of national exploration investment over the last decade, although there has been a recent decline. We strongly urge the NSW Government to support further exploration through continued funding of the popular and effective Cooperative Drilling Program beyond its current fourth funding round.
The $14.8 million allocated to to modernise and streamline the water licensing approval systems for water users is also welcome. While mining is a relatively small user of water and recycle much of what we use, improvements to the water licensing regime will be of benefit.
The Budget also confirms ongoing departmental initiatives and activities relating to workplace health and safety, regulatory compliance, and upgrades to services provided to the sector.
These commitments are also welcome, noting they are generally funded from existing industry fees and levies, including the Mine Safety Levy, the Administration Levy, and Rental Fees which together raise over $70 million from the sector each year.