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NSW Budget verdict: action to diversify economy needs policy backing

The NSW Budget’s recognition of declining mining investment and the need for other sectors to lead growth needs to be backed by key policy changes on mining, says the Lock the Gate Alliance.

The State Budget released yesterday highlights a sharp decline in mining investment and refers to a “national transition .. towards more diversified economic growth.”

Spokesperson Georgina Woods said the budget chapter providing the state’s economic outlook places emphasis on pulling NSW out of the mining slump and into non-mining recovery.

”It’s good to see the Government recognise the importance of encouraging investment in diverse sectors of the economy, but we’re concerned that the policy settings around mining don’t match the changing priorities of NSW's economic outlook,” she said.

“Coal and gas mining pose severe risks to more sustainable rural and regional industries, and the NSW Government needs to back the new economic outlook with stronger constraints on mining if it wants to deliver diversified economic growth. 

“NSW needs immediate changes to mining regulation to ensure that productive agricultural industries  are not damaged by intense mining development in the wrong places.

"Plans to push ahead with the Shenhua Coal mine on the Liverpool Plains, a vital food bowl, will destroy a productive existing industry and leave behind damage that can never be repaired.

“Water supplies also need to be protected from mining for use in other industries - but instead NSW is putting water security at risk with coal mining in Sydney's drinking water catchment and CSG in the Great Artesian Basin.

“NSW needs to urgently apply a more equitable approach where other industries are given a fair go.

"It is good to see the NSW Government allocating some resources to enable the Environment Protection Authority to become the lead regulator on CSG, but more funds are required to deliver robust science on the true risks of this unsafe industry," Ms Woods said.

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