Singleton and Muswellbrook call for continuation of R4R

Published on 08 February 2023

Mayor of Singleton Cr Sue Moore and Mayor of Muswellbrook Cr Steven Reynolds..jpg

As the NSW Government this week announced a freeze on mining royalty rates, the mayors of Singleton and Muswellbrook say an ongoing commitment to the Resources for Regions program would be more beneficial in providing greater certainty – and a just proportion of funds – for those communities that face the daily impacts of mining.

Singleton and Muswellbrook account for a combined total of 43 per cent of NSW’s coal mining output, which in 2021 amounted to more than $18billion of the State’s mining output total of almost $40billion (Remplan Economic Output Estimates 2021 Release 3).

With Deputy Premier Paul Toole revealing mining royalties in this financial year were forecast at between $5-6 billion, Cr Sue Moore and Cr Steven Reynolds said it stood to reason to expect the Resources for Regions program would continue to benefit mining-impacted communities.

Both m ayors agreed the proportion of funds returned to the people of Singleton and Muswellbrook were minuscule compared to the royalties paid to the Government from their LGAs every year.

They have joined forces in the lead up to the March NSW election to appeal to all candidates for the seat of Upper Hunter, as well as the major parties, to pledge the continuation of the program in recognition of the people who live daily with the realities of coal mining for the benefit of NSW.

Their message is simple: Resources For Regions must continue in the same format, with an increased allocation of funds, to allow both councils to continue to work with the State Government to deliver what the community needs and deserves here and now.

Cr Moore said the inclusion of community programs, as well as the number of community projects that had been supported under the reformed Resources For Regions program, was “absolutely astounding”.

“Singleton Council is very proud of the approach we’ve taken to make Resources For Regions about the community by extending the opportunity for funding for a range of projects, and not only Council infrastructure,” she said.

“This is not just a funding program for Council, it is about delivering real outcomes for our community in the here and now. It is about lessening the impact that mining has on our people.

“Seeing the difference this program has made to people has just been so rewarding, and it’s a great way Council and the State Government can work together to return a just proportion of the economic value of coal mining to our community.

Cr Reynolds said even with the freeze on the amount of royalties being paid to the State, it is only fair that those communities who face the daily impacts are supported.

“This is not about changing the Royalties for Rejuvenation program or the expert panel. They are very future focused. This program is about our communities where the mining impact is felt daily,” he said.

“We need ongoing support right now and it would not pass the fair dinkum test if our communities lost the certainty that the Resources for Regions program provides.

“The continuation of this program, and the changes that have been made since Round Seven, are critical to our communities. Taking it away would be an insult.”