Royalties for Rejuvenation interim Hunter Expert Panel meets for the first time
The eight members of the interim Hunter Expert Panel for Royalties for Rejuvenation met for the first time in February to start its work supporting and expanding economic development in the region.
Deputy Secretary for Regional Development and Programs Chris Hanger said the funding program sets aside royalties to ensure coal mining communities are ready for the future by working with the community to identify economic opportunities for investment.
“Coal mining plays a crucial role in the Hunter and will continue to do so into the future. As we look towards a lower carbon future, we need to ensure the community is part of that journey,” Mr Hanger said.
“The expert panel will help guide and inform how the Royalties for Rejuvenation program is invested to meet the needs of the community as we work together to shape a strong and prosperous future for the region.”
Mr Hanger said a minimum of $25 million would be set aside each year for coal mining regions as part of the Royalties for Rejuvenation program, with investments to be guided by recommendations of the Expert Panels in each region. Legislation was introduced into Parliament this week to create the Fund and establish the Expert Panels.
“Coal remains a key employer and will form part of the energy and resources mix for decades to come, in balance with the NSW Government’s future-focussed and responsible approach to the development of the state’s resources,” Mr Hanger said.
During the first panel meeting the members reviewed the governance frameworks necessary to guide investment of the fund and most importantly commenced investigation of opportunities to support and expand economic diversification in the Hunter region.
The Royalties for Rejuvenation program follows the NSW Government’s introduction of the highly successful Resources for Regions program in 2012 which has seen 242 projects worth $420 million invested in local mining communities.
The NSW Government, as part of the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, has just appointed the Electricity Infrastructure Jobs Advocate, Dr Mark Apthorpe, and is also rolling out a jobs package to help support workers across emerging renewable industries.
These initiatives will support the growth of at least 3,700 direct and indirect jobs in NSW across the next 10 years. The panel will meet again in late March to progress its work.