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Nats promise boost for mining centres

Tuesday, 1st March, 2011

By Gayle Hogan

As Perilya posts a $74.2 million profit, MP John Williams said Broken Hill could benefit from a NSW Coalition policy which will put more money back into mining towns.

Speaking to the BDT after Sunday's election campaign launch, the Nationals Member for Murray-Darling said the "resources for regions" program would help mining communities improve infrastructure such as roads.

The program was announced by NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner at the party's official campaign launch for the March 26 election in Dubbo.

The scheme is likely to be funded by mining licence fees rather than royalties, according to The Australian newspaper.

The Coalition has promised to put $160 million in its first term into infrastructure projects for mining communities if it wins the election.

An economic assessment to find out exactly how much tax is raised by the State and how much towns are getting back in local infrastructure and services will also be undertaken.

Shadow Minister for Industry, Duncan Gay, told a meeting of the Association of Mining Related Councils at Parliament House last week that there was a need for a return of royalties to the regions. 

Mr Williams agreed, saying mining towns in NSW had been neglected by a "city-centric" Labor Government.

"Absolutely this is a recognition of what's needed to be provided to ensure long term mine operation in regional areas," Mr Williams said.

"I think it just adds to the recognition that is placed on regional NSW by the Nationals. It's specific funding.

"Our whole focus is on regional communities.

"I think there hasn't been clear defined policies in place to support regional NSW.

"The funding will be spent with a view to address infrastructure." 

Mr Williams said an example of where the money could be directed was the city's proposed haulage road between Potosi Mine and Wentworth Road. 

"This will be an ideal source of funding for the development of that transport route.

"That in effect is an example of what it will produce."

Mr Williams said the scheme was a bonus for both mining towns and companies.

"I think the mining companies do a pretty good job in providing employment opportunities and I think they need to be supported by the Government as much as possible." 

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