Wollondilly Council lobbies for share of coal mining profits

The entrance to the Appin mine, operated by South32.
The entrance to the Appin mine, operated by South32.

"There is a huge amount of mining royalties leaving the region and we are fed up with not getting any of it back."

Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth wants the state government to cough up some of the funds they receive from the shire's mining operations.

He said councillors were frustrated by the amount of money going to the state government and not being used to support Wollondilly infrastructure.

"Councillors have bought this up multiple times in the past but we just can't seem to get any answers," he said.

"We've never been given the chance to discuss the idea that some of these funds should be coming back to the region.

"South 32 provides $194 million to the state government in royalties each year and we haven't seen a dime of it.

"It is estimated that the mine's upcoming expansion will earn a minimum of $740 million over its lifespan from the Wollondilly mines alone."

The state government puts $50 million of its mining profits into the Resources for Region fund each year.

The fund is accessible by regional communities with mining operations to be used as community grants.

However Wollondilly isn't classified as a regional community.

"For some reason we have been classed as a metropolitan community," Cr Deeth said.

"Yet the cities of Wollongong and Newcastle can access this grant funding as they are classified as regional communities.

"We can't understand why they are and we aren't - and we haven't been able to find out any answers on that."

The council will pen an open letter to the state government regarding this issue.

Cr Deeth said he hoped the letter would get some attention.

"Our region is very supportive of the mines and our infrastructure supports the mines - including our road network - which is paid for by our taxpayers," he said.

"We would like the state government to consider us a regional community so that we can access some of that funding support."

Cr Deeth said the council would also reach out to Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith.

"I have spoken to Mr Smith about this briefly but we would welcome a further opportunity to speak about this simple reclassification," he said.

Both South 32 and the Simec Group's mining operations in the shire make up the largest employment base in Wollondilly.

They are also responsible for 50 per cent of the region's product exports.

Cr Deeth said coal mining operations were an important aspect of the shire's economy.

"Mining is critical for employment in Wollondilly so we need to make sure the mines are viable into the future," he said.

"We hope the state government will recognise the importance of supporting us to provide vital infrastructure to support employment opportunities in the shire."