Central Coast Council has welcomed a pledge from the State Government to step in with $43M for NSW councils to cover their contribution towards the state’s fire and emergency costs next year.
“Council is required to pay the Emergency Services Levy to the NSW Government each year to help fund the running of the NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service and Fire and Rescue NSW,” a spokesperson said.
“The announced additional funding is expected to maintain Council’s annual costs for the Emergency Services Levy at approximately $5M for the 2022/23 financial year.”
Recent natural disasters have led to an increase in the levy rate, and the NSW Government is kicking in the money so costs are not passed onto ratepayers.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the additional funding is crucial to help councils manage the impacts of recent natural disasters.
“After the severe floods that have affected so much of our state, and the bushfires before that, we all understand the importance of properly funding our emergency services so they’re available when we need them,” Kean said.
“The last thing flood-affected councils need right now is a further drain on their resources, so we will step in this year and cover the increase, just like we did during the pandemic in 2020-21 and 2021-22.”
Minister for Local Government, Wendy Tuckerman, said the Government is keenly aware of the challenges faced by councils over the past few years, and the extra funding will allow them to get on with the job of delivering critical services and infrastructure to their communities.
“We will continue to work with all councils to maintain and support their financial sustainability into the future,” Tuckerman said.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery, Steph Cooke, said the announcement means council contributions to the Emergency Services Levy can remain unchanged in the 2022-23 financial year, as they have since 2019-20.
“Sixty local government areas have been impacted by flooding and storms in the last two months and are counting the cost of these natural disasters,” Cooke said.
“Ensuring that council contributions do not increase is one of the many ways the NSW Government is continuing to support the local government sector.
“Over the last three years the NSW Government has already provided more than $50M to councils to offset Emergency Services Levy increases.”