The mining powerful lobby wants to challenge O’Farrell’s protection of agricultural land. Source: AFP
THE state’s multi-billion dollar mining industry is preparing to take on the O’Farrell government over its controversial plans to protect agricultural land.
The powerful NSW Minerals Council will today release a report detailing the impact the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans will have on the state budget and the economy. The council will allege the loss of revenue from potential mining restrictions under the plans will impact the state government’s ability to deliver on its infrastructure commitments.
The report, prepared by Monash University and PricewaterhouseCoopers, calculates a $1 billion revenue loss for the state government in declining mining royalties over the next 20 years.
It also said the plans would cut a full per cent from the state’s economic growth in 2018, resulting in over 8000 fewer jobs.
The economic modelling was undertaken based on two plans the state government has drafted, which cover the Upper Hunter and New England districts. The plans aim to identify high value agricultural land with anyone proposing a mine or gas extraction within two kilometres of the site being forced to acquire a Gateway Certificate before they can proceed to all the usual state approvals.
The plans have divided the community with graziers, farmers and green groups joining forces against the mining industry. It also pits treasurer Mike Baird against his former chief-of-staff, Stephen Gallilee, who heads the council.
Mr Gallilee said the land covered by the two plans accounted for more than 70 per cent of coal production. “Slowing the state’s biggest export industry will have an impact that will be felt right across the economy,” Mr Gallilee said.
The report predicts a 16 per cent contraction in the gross regional product of Upper Hunter region in 2018 and 5000 fewer mining jobs. The New England area would experience a 5 per cent hit to the gross regional product with 800 fewer jobs over the next decade.