The recent massive hike in the emergency services levy paid by local councils was something the Guardian News was keen to ask NSW Minster for Emergency Services, David Elliott, about during his visit to the area yesterday (Thursday).
The minster said it was an issue he had inherited and had been discussing with local councils in his own electorate and beyond since he took on the portfolio following the march NSW Government election.
"The councils have been asking for a property-based emergency services levy, saying it is a fairer way to go, however back in 2016 there was broad community consultation about this and it got well and truly over-ruled," Mr Elliott said.
"I don't think there is anyone in this debate who does not agree with the change (the additional funds are for volunteer and career firefighters who are diagnosed with one of 12 specific work-related cancers) but no-one likes to pay taxes.
"And I don't agree at all with the position of councils that they were unaware because the legislation was actually passed in November last year and that is on the public record.
"I do however have a sympathetic ear and am listening to those who raise it with me."
He would not give a definitive answer to the question of whether the NSW Government would pay the initial $19 million increase as requested by Local Government NSW and supported by Nambucca Shire Council.