Sue-Ern TanTHE Hunter Valley generated about 15 per cent of the new mining tax revenue and should receive an equivalent amount of the resultant infrastructure funding, Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush said yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

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Mr Rush said Queensland and Western Australia had been favoured in the first rounds of federal spending based on the Mineral Resources Rent Tax and it was time for NSW to receive its share.

He was worried that the federal fight with the state government over its royalty increase would hit the Hunter if Canberra decided to square up by cutting regional funding in response.

The Minerals Council of NSW said it was not opposed to the resources tax, but it was concerned about the stoush between Canberra and Macquarie Street.

The council’s acting chief executive Sue-Ern Tan said about 40per cent of black coal revenue came from NSW, with the bulk of this from the Hunter and western NSW mines exporting through Newcastle.

‘‘This state is crying out for infrastructure spending, but the people of NSW and the state’s mining industry could end up as collateral damage if this tussle isn’t resolved,’’ Ms Tan said.

‘‘The federal government must ensure that mining communities in NSW get their fair share of [resources tax] infrastructure funding regardless of any political disagreements with the state government.’’

The federal government wrote to NSW on Monday reiterating it would cut regional funding under the tax to the state if the royalties increase went ahead.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird said yesterday the royalties increase would recover the revenue state coffers would be short under the federal government’s carbon tax.

‘‘NSW was treated with disdain in the first round of funding for the Regional Infrastructure Fund, receiving only $2million while Queensland and Western Australia received over $400million each,’’ Mr Baird said.

“The threat to now withhold funding is just the latest example of how federal Labor have short-changed this state.’’

Federal Hunter MP and chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon said he supported the tough stance being taken to pressure the O’Farrell NSW government.

‘‘The big change here is that for too many years the state government, on both sides of politics, has been raising royalties in the Hunter and spending the money in Sydney,’’ Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he had been given ‘‘private and public commitments’’, including as recently as last night, from ‘‘the Prime Minister and all of the relevant ministers that NSW, and therefore the Hunter, will get its fair share’’ of the resources tax proceeds.