News the NSW Government will fund the increase in the emergency services levy for NSW councils this financial year will certainly be welcomed.
The increase, to meet the cost of new workers' compensation for firefighters, would have added an unexpected $74,000 to the Nambucca Shire Council's 2019/2020 budget bottom line.
Acting Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the State's 128 councils would not have to pay the additional $13.6 million this financial year.
"The NSW Government acknowledges this additional cost presented challenges for councils, particularly those in regional and rural areas badly affected by the drought," Mr Barilaro said.
"That's why the Government will fund the $13.6 million to cover the additional levy costs to support firefighters who develop cancer, to alleviate the immediate pressure on local councils.
"Our emergency services have long been funded through a cost sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the Government. It's important that this continues and we look after the health and wellbeing of our frontline firefighters."
Mrs Hancock said the Government had listened to the concerns of local councils.
"We acknowledge that many councils had already developed and approved their 2019-20 Budgets before the invoices for the increased emergency services levy were issued and this has caused some angst," Mrs Hancock said.
"We will continue to consult with local councils to better manage the impacts of the emergency services levy especially on their annual budgeting cycles.