THE "DIRTY" mining industry still has its uses, according to Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
The Greens' latest policy involves taxing mining companies an extra $250 million a year and investing the money into renewable energy and recycling.
The "Renew Regional NSW Fund" would supply $1 billion over four years for energy and water saving projects, waste management, small-scale renewable energy, and agriculture research.
Mr Buckingham alongside local Greens candidates Adam Guise and Tamara Smith were called on to explain why the coal industry would be needed to bankroll the fund.
"We don't want to base our economy on fossil fuels but what we want to do is make sure that as we make a transition out of coal, that the state benefits," Mr Buckingham explained.
"The state is getting very, very little; the vast majority of profits go overseas, and we want to see those returned to the whole state, not just the mining regions."
The mining industry contributes about $1 billion a year to the NSW economy, more than 90% from coal.
The Greens would raise this to about $1.25 billion by lifting royalties on the coal industry by 2%, and 1% on all other minerals.
Mr Buckingham said it was about creating an "alternative economic model" so the state's economy wouldn't be shocked when coal inevitably ends, also adding the royalty plunder might hasten its decline.