Charges deferred on Emergency Services Levy

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced it will reverse its decision to pass on to councils this year’s sharp rise in the Emergency Services Levy.

The policy reversal – announced last week by Acting Premier, John Barilaro, and Local Government Minister, Shelley Hancock, – will see the State Government cover an initial increase of almost $14 million invoiced to councils.

Local Government NSW President, Linda Scott, said the announcement followed months of intense work by the peak body and NSW local governments across the state.

“I welcome the Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister’s recognition that this additional, unexpected cost to councils, particularly those in rural and regional areas affected by the drought, would cost communities.”

Councils currently contribute 11.7 percent of the Emergency Services budget in NSW, with the cost embedded in council rates and further costs recovered through insurance premiums.

Council contributions were unexpectedly sent soaring to cover the cost of extending workers’ compensation coverage for volunteer and career firefighters diagnosed with one of 12 specific work-related cancers.

“I look forward to having a real opportunity for both tiers of government to sit down together to develop a constructive way forward that involves a fair and realistic transition process towards a better, fully funded workers’ compensation scheme for NSW firefighters and their families.

“By working together we can ensure the way forward that doesn’t penalise communities across NSW in need of council services such as childcare, and infrastructure such as parks, roads and footpaths.”