Blue Mountains News

Emergency Services Levy Funding Boosts Local Councils and Communities

Source: Shayne Mallard Member of the Legislative Council
Posted: 3 May 2020
Blue Mountains City Council will be able to direct an extra $667,464 into frontline COVID-19 response efforts and core community services thanks to the NSW Liberal Government fully funding the local government increase in the emergency services levy (ESL) for 2020-21.

Member of the Legislative Council and local Blue Mountains resident Shayne Mallard MP said the NSW Government’s recent $395 million local government economic stimulus package includes $32.76 million to fund this year’s increase.

“Our emergency services have long been funded through a cost sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the Government, “Mr Mallard said.

“While we all acknowledge the importance of supporting our emergency services workers, local councils simply cannot afford this cost in the wake of COVID-19, bushfires and drought.

“This funding injection will allow Blue Mountains Council to redirect funds to critical core services and deliver financial support for the local community.”

Mr Mallard said he would be monitoring how the Blue Mountains Council proposes to invest the significant funds to assist the community during the pandemic.

“The government is keen to know how Blue Mountains council will invest these funds to assist the local community. We don’t want to see the cash disappear into the Council’s administration budgets,” Mr Mallard added.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the COVID-19 crisis has hit councils hard financially and the NSW Government is determined to limit the impacts and allow councils to deliver for communities across the State.

“I am pleased to have secured this funding injection for our local councils which they can redirect to core community services and providing financial support for their local communities,” Mrs Hancock said.

Revenue NSW will shortly issue councils with their ESL assessment notices for 2020-21 as required by legislation. The Office of Local Government will pay a grant to each council equivalent to the increase in their ESL contribution for 2020-21.

In 2019-20 the NSW Government provided $13.6 million to fund the ESL increase for local councils to pay for new workers’ compensation arrangements for firefighters with cancer.

The COVID-19 local government economic stimulus package also includes a $112.5 million Council Job Retention Allowance to minimise job losses in the local government sector and a $250 million boost to low-interest infrastructure loans for local councils to help drive jobs and investment.

 
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