New South Wales Budget 2023-24 

The 2023-24 Budget has begun the challenging task of budget repair, as the State attempts to manage a $188.2 billion debt. The Budget is forecast to return to a modest surplus in 2024-25, with projected improvements over the forward estimates. 

Significant announcements have already been made ahead of today’s budget including, a significant lift in coal royalties netting the State Government a further $2.7 billion (starting from July 2024), and increasing the total royalty take over the next 4 years, to $13.2 billion.  

The recent announcement, that the State Government would begin consultation on a new Critical Minerals Strategy for New South Wales, while welcome, has been somewhat undercut with funding for the previous Government’s Critical Minerals Activation Initiative dropped.  The Resources for Regions program which sought to return some of the wealth generated from the region’s resources, has also been abolished.  The regions will see a $3.8 billion investment for regional health facilities, $1.4 billion for regional schools, and $1.8 billion in new investments spread across the budget. 

A $390 million investment will establish a Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund to support regional councils in managing existing roads, and those impacted by natural disasters, and $334 million to establish the Regional Roads Fund to build new roads in rural and regional areas. 

The budget also contains a $3.9 billion investment in the clean energy, with $1 billion provided to establish an Energy Security Corporation to invest in storage and firming projects like pumped hydro and address gaps in the market. $804 million is being committed to the Transmission Acceleration Facility to connect Renewable Energy Zones to the grid sooner.  

Of direct relevance to the mining industry, are the following commitments, from the Natural Resources portfolio. 

  • $113 million over four years for mine work health and safety.
  • $48.5 million over four years to reduce risks from legacy mines. 
  • $27.5 million for geological survey work to encourage exploration of critical minerals. 
  • $5.2 million to establish Future Jobs and Investment Authorities, to assist coal-producing regions to develop new industries and economic opportunities. 

NSW Parliamentary Inquiry on current and potential impacts of mining – submission 

AMEC lodged a submission in response to the release of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry titled ‘Current and potential impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales’ with the Terms of Reference released and chaired by Dr Cohn MLC (Greens). The submission acknowledges the inherent health and safety risks in mining as well as possible environmental impacts. However, these are well managed by the stringent regulatory system in Australia, and NSW is a leading jurisdiction with responsible resource development. The document also highlights the pivotal role that the minerals industry plays in supporting the regional economy and supplying critical minerals which should be taken into consideration. AMEC will continue to track the process of the Inquiry and keep members apprised. 

Critical Minerals Strategy – consultation   

AMEC welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government on consultation for a new Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy and looks forward to working with the NSW Government to deliver a clear and actionable strategy. This forthcoming strategy will serve as a comprehensive framework for guiding and advancing the critical minerals and high-tech metals mining sector within NSW. One of its primary focuses will be strengthening sovereign capability by encouraging domestic manufacturing, fostering skills development, and supporting the clean energy supply chain. Notably, New South Wales possesses substantial mineral reserves, including 17 out of the 26 identified critical minerals. However, actions to support the industry find and develop critical minerals must be prioritized to meet the current and forecast critical mineral demand. AMEC is eager to represent member interests and provide input. 

Multiple land use draft submission 

AMEC has taken the initiative to draft a submission on the topic of multiple, or competing land use, in NSW for NSW Mining Exploration and Geoscience (MEG) with member case studies included. 

Increasingly, areas sought for renewable energy production such as solar, wind and carbon farming have significantly grown as the State moves to transition to future focused energy sources to achieve net-zero. In many cases, these facilities are being developed in areas that are prospective and the site of active mineral exploration projects. Competing land use is a topic of concern in the minerals industry due to increasing challenges associated with competing interests. AMEC is encouraging the Government to balance equitable land management to support co-existence and growth. 

AMEC Workshop with Government – Improvements to NSW Government TMS and Regulator Portal 

AMEC has been consulting with Mining, Exploration and Geoscience NSW (MEG) on improvements to the TMS and Regulator Portals and held a very constructive workshop on Thursday 7 September.  A follow-up workshop is scheduled for 9 November and members are encouraged to come forward with any concerns regarding the current system and provide suggestions for improvement. 

AMEC has made the following submissions on behalf of member companies:

To learn more please contact Lucy McClean on 0412 283 252.

Out and About NSW