Mining helps NSW regions flourish

DATA from the most recent census illustrates how mining is boosting the incomes of families in regional New South Wales towns such as Gunnedah and Narrabri, according to the NSW Minerals Council.
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Lau Caruana

Analysis of the recently released 2011 census has shown that the median weekly income for households in mining regions has grown faster than both the state and national growth rates.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said mining was not only helping to provide more than 15,600 jobs in the New England North West and Central West but was providing strong income growth for those working in the industry.

"Regional development and growth brings challenges for local communities but it is also important to recognise the benefits, including higher household incomes," Galilee said.

"It's especially encouraging that mining activity is providing solid income growth for households in Gunnedah and Narrabri.

"Between 2006 and 2011, median household income in Gunnedah rose by 29.34 per cent and between 2006 and 2011 median household income in Narrabri rose by 23.4 per cent.

"This compares to NSW median household income growth of 18.7 per cent and national growth of 19.5 per cent over the same period.

"This is good news for mining employees and their families and also for the local economy.

"Retail, service and manufacturing businesses in Gunnedah and Narrabri benefit from the positive household disposable income growth that mining delivers."

Galilee said while the figures were encouraging, there were still challenges facing the industry that had the potential to "put a handbrake on mining jobs" and income growth in the future.

"A range of new taxes and charges on mining have come into force from 1 July, including the carbon tax, the mining tax, increased royalties and new state government levies," Galilee said.

"Our industry is also facing uncertainty over the NSW government's draft strategic regional land use plan, which could see NSW taxpayers foregoing $1 billion a year for the next 20 years in mining royalties."