NEWCREST Mining will pay Blayney Shire Council an extra $18.1 million in rates over the next 10 years following a decision by the Independent and Pricing Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to approve the council’s application for a permanent special mining rate variation.
IPART’s determination, the first for a mining-affected council in NSW, will swell Blayney council’s general income by 40.7 per cent in 2012/13 - more than 10 times the general rate-pegging limit of 3.6 per cent.
The council will spend an extra $14.2 million on maintaining and improving roads and bridges along the three routes that service Cadia mine.
A $2.9 million community infrastructure program will also be established along with a $1 million community contributions plan.
Orange mayor John Davis said Orange would not benefit despite mine traffic using the city’s roads.
“We get more benefit than Blayney with accommodation and house sales over the years,” he said.
“Councils never have enough money... [but] we get our fair share [from Newcrest].”
Cr Davis said Orange council was always “chasing money” from the mine and the state government to upgrade roads servicing the mine.
He said Cabonne Council was a loser following the rate increase as they used to get the same rates from Newcrest as Blayney.
Cabonne general manager Graeme Fleming said the council had anticipated the expansion of Cadia further east into the Blayney local government area and had factored it into its strategic planning.
“It is not anticipated to have a major effect on the financial sustainability of Cabonne Council which is one of the soundest in the state,” he said.
Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) general manager Tony McPaul said the poor condition of local roads “during challenging times” was a primary concern of the mine’s neighbours and employees.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to work with council to direct so much of our additional rates towards funding road improvements,” he said.
“CVO has existing road maintenance funding agreements with Orange City Council and Cabonne Shire Council.
“Blayney Shire Council has always worked closely with these authorities to improve the condition of the main feeder roads to the Cadia Valley Operations site.”
He said the IPART determination went “well beyond” the level of existing maintenance agreements and would provide substantial upgrades to roads carrying large volumes of mine traffic