Hogsback on drought assistance

FARMERS should be grateful the New South Wales government is flush with cash after mining delivered $1.8 billion in royalties to the state’s coffers so it could afford to bail them out to the tune of $1 billion in drought assistance.
Hogsback on drought assistance Hogsback on drought assistance Hogsback on drought assistance Hogsback on drought assistance Hogsback on drought assistance


These farmers, who like using government-funded airways on the ABC to present themselves as poor innocent victims of the latest drought, are quite happy to accept $20,000 each for feed transportation costs.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has even topped up the NSW government farmer handouts by promising more federal government assistance, which will bring its total drought measures to $576 million. 
Unlike farming, the Australian coal mining industry is a truly globally competitive industry that for the most part relies on its good management to get it through the lean years.
While it has made mistakes, it does not go squealing to the government to prop it up.
Five years ago when coking coal prices plunged, every man and his dog - including a lot of farmers - where ready to kick the industry while it was down.
The then Premier of New South Wales Barry O'Farrell even went as far as revoking the exploration licence granted to NuCoal Resources' Doyles Creek coal project in the Hunter Valley, despite the company's shareholders being rightful owners of the lease.
Many farmers refused to allow coal exploration companies on their properties, even though they were legally entitled to be there.
And while these farmer refuseniks may have been folk heroes in their local pubs, they threatened the ongoing viability of the coal industry.    
How things have changed. The difference now is that it is coal mining royalties and Sydney real estate investors paying exorbitant stamp duties that are propping up the farmers.
In the 2018-19 NSW budget, royalties from the mining sector were revised up $813 million. They delivered a record $1.8 billion in 2017-18, and are due to deliver another record $2 billion the next financial year.
Mining royalties are expected to bring NSW about $7.4 billion in revenue over the next four years. 
The $1.8 billion in royalties from the NSW mining sector in 2017-18 are equivalent to almost half the 2017-18 budget surplus, and the further $7.4 billion in royalties expected to 2021-22 will deliver more than $1 billion more than the total projected budget surpluses for the next four years.
Hogsback reckons our political leaders should consider these salient facts the next time they promise assistance to farmers in swinging marginal electorates in the bush in times of drought.