Premier caught flat-footed on Royalties for Rejuvenation

NSW Nationals

Upper Hunter Nationals MP Dave Layzell has challenged the Premier to ‘come clean’ on the NSW Labor Government’s progress with the Royalties for Rejuvenations Fund.

“The Premier’s response on this issue when questioned at Budget Estimates is nothing short of astonishing for the people working in and reliant on the Hunter Valley coal industry,” Mr Layzell said.

“He knows the economic value of coal to the NSW economy but had to take the question on notice about when Royalties for Rejuvenation will be operational and helping regional communities to prepare for the end of mining.”

The Upper Hunter community of Gloucester is currently preparing for this year’s closure of the Stratford colliery by Yancoal, but it won’t be the only NSW mine to close.

Budget Estimates was told that Whitehaven’s Werris Creek mine on the Gunnedah coalfields and the Russell Vale Colliery in the Illawarra region will also cease production and jobs will be lost.

“The Premier simply cannot respond “that’s a good question” when he’s asked about Labor’s signature promise from the 2023 NSW election to create authorities to invest millions of dollars in coalmining affected communities,” Mr Layzell said.

“The mineworkers and mining support businesses of Singleton and Muswellbrook already know structural change is coming to their industry because of the switch to renewable energy. Now they want to know when the NSW Government will invest the money the NSW Nationals put in the bank to prepare for their future.”

Mr Layzell believes the delay with Royalties for Rejuvenation is just another example of NSW Labor’s contempt for regional mining communities.

“This delay is unacceptable after the Minns Government scrapped the Royalties for Regions program, which has assisted regional communities that are home to resources projects in NSW for more than a decade,” he said.

“Since 2012, Resources for Regions allocated $560 million to 355 projects, The Nationals provided the help because we understand the benefits of mining and the need for the state government to return a share of the economic benefit to regional mining communities.”

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