Council could face $2.8M revenue hit if mining rates changed

Scott Ferguson

Scott Ferguson

Blayney Shire Council could be nearly $3 million out of pocket under a proposed change to the rates councils can charge mining companies and will lobby the NSW Government to reconsider upcoming recommendations governing councils.

Changes proposed for the Local Government NSW conference's November meeting would force councils to charge mining companies rates similar rates to that of other businesses in the Shire.

The recommendation, known as Recommendation 34, reads "any difference in the rate charged by a council to a mining company compared to its average business rate should primarily reflect differences in the council's cost of providing services to the mining properties".

A report prepared before council's meeting on Monday night said council's current mining rate was 6.8 times its business rate, and bringing it in line with Recommendation 34's limit of four times the business rate would cut council's income by over $1.8 million a year.

Council currently has a mining special rate variation which is allocated to additional costs incurred by council providing services impacted by mining activities.

"Unless council could demonstrate that our additional costs are in fact greater than that covered by the Mining SRV, the reduction in income would be $2,848,940," the report said.

Councillor David Somervaille said council was "in the dark" as to how hard the changes would affect revenue.

"We should lobby government not to implement it at all and engage with affected councils," he said.

Cr Somervaille said council should approach other mining councils such as Dubbo, Cobar, Cabonne and Orange who would be among those "most impacted" by Recommendation 34.

Mayor Scott Ferguson said he'd verbally discussed the issue with local member and now deputy premier Paul Toole, but agreed council should formalise it in writing.