The Lithgow, Cobar and Mid-Western Local Government Areas will be eligible to apply for millions of dollars of funding, as parts of the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions program in 2013-2014.
With the program under new arrangements, more local communities affected by mining activity will be eligible to apply for funding.
Other eligible Local Government Areas (LGAs) include Singleton, Muswellbrook, Narrabri and Newcastle.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure & Services Andrew Stoner said the NSW Government will take a broader approach to funding communities directly and indirectly impacted by mining activity.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government understands communities like these experience unique pressures on their infrastructure and services as a result of mining activity,” Mr Stoner said.
“That is why we are the first Government in NSW to establish a Resources for Regions program which will boost funding for local infrastructure by up to $160m over four years,” he said.
Mr Stoner’s comments follow the latest annual assessment of the impacts of mining activity on regional communities
Mr Stoner said the eligible LGAs are informed by an independently-audited assessment which compares State revenue raised from communities affected by mining, with the corresponding government expenditure on local infrastructure and services.
“In 2011, two LGAs – Singleton and Muswellbrook – were assessed as having received less capital and recurrent funding per capita than the NSW State average,” Mr Stoner said.
“$10 million in Resources for Regions funding was allocated to infrastructure projects in those areas in the 2012-13 budget.”
“We also agree that the definition of ‘mining affected communities’ should be extended to include non-mining communities which may be indirectly impacted by mining and related activity.”
Mr Stoner said the program would also be open to economic and social infrastructure projects, as rapid mining-related growth places pressures on both these sectors.
Mr Stoner said the new arrangements also back the Assessment’s view that the program should be opened up to a wider range of applicants including local government, businesses, non-government organisations and community groups.
“Funding for infrastructure projects will be allocated through a competitive grants process following consultation with relevant stakeholders,” Mr Stoner said.
“In particular, projects that involve partnerships, align with NSW Government priorities and/or produce a net economic benefit will be viewed favourably – this includes business projects which seek to deliver infrastructure with common user benefits.
Total funding for the Resources for Region program in 2013/14 and the successful projects will be announced as part of the Budget process.
Following an Expression of Interest period the NSW Government will make an initial assessment as to whether proposals are likely to qualify for more detailed consideration. Projects that meet the program criteria will then be invited to submit a full application.
Information on the application process is available at: http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/resources-for-regions