Thursday, June 20, 2024

LGNSW calls for end to ‘cannibalism’ of rates for emergency services levy

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) says the state’s councils have cautiously welcomed the State Government’s decision to review the way the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) is collected and have called for the levy to be removed from the council rating system.

LGNSW President, City of Broken Hill Councillor, Darriea Turley AM said a review of the levy collection methodology was long overdue.

“Councils have been shouldering the burden of the increased cost of emergency services for too long,” she said.

“This has made it incredibly difficult for councils to budget and provide the services ratepayers expect.”

Currently, the State’s 128 councils collect 11.7% of the finances which fund emergency services Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service. The money is collected through council rates.

“Collecting the levy via council rates has to stop,” President Turley said.

She said while she appreciated the sentiment of the Premier Chris Minn’s Bradfield Oration, no mention was made of decoupling the levy from rates, which costs councils money to collect and are of course not able to be levied on all types of land – including vast landholdings that generate income for the State Government through state owned corporations like Forests NSW.

“I hope this was just an oversight and not an indication that council rates will continue to be cannibalised by the levy,” said President Turley.

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