Wollongong City Council should support a proposal to channel millions of dollars worth of mining royalties back into the regions from which they originated, a Labor councillor has said..
Chris Connor will urge his colleagues at Monday’s council meeting to back a campaign from the NSW Association of Mining Related Council to return 30 per cent of the State Government’s mining royalties haul to regional communities.
More than $700million in mining and petroleum royalties was collected across the state in 2010-2011, according to a NSW Trade and Investment report accompanying Cr Connor’s motion.
The document put the Wollongong yield at just under
$50million for the same period, however Cr Connor believed the figure had risen since then.
‘‘I spoke to the operator of a major Wollongong mine recently who said he paid $100million in royalties last year,’’ he said.
‘‘If the association’s proposal gets the green light from the Government, Wollongong could stand to gain $30million.
‘‘We could do a lot for the community with that kind of money.’’
The proposal, which the O’Farrell government said it would consider as part of an pre-election promise, calls for the royalties to be divided into two funds - one solely for councils and the other for regional communities.
The latter will be used to help business groups, community organisations and educational institutions provide better services and build community infrastructure. Cr Connor said the scheme would also help generate lasting employment opportunities outside the resource industry.
‘‘Regions can use this money to help set themselves up now with employment and businesses for a post-mining community,’’ he said.
The funds would also be used to fix regional roads that have suffered wear and tear because of mining-related activity.
‘‘This money could fund several long-overdue projects in Wollongong, such as the widening of the F6, more off and on ramps [to the Princes Hwy] around Dapto, fast-tracking of the Albion Park bypass and upgrades to roads around Port Kembla port and Appin and Picton roads,’’ Cr Connor said.
Councillors will vote on the matter on Monday.