Gilgandra Council not bowing to State’s emergency levy plan
GILGANDRA Council has rejected the State Government’s plan to send them a bill for $19 million – and by default, their ratepayers – to fund the emergency services levy contribution.
The levy means Gilgandra now pays close to $50,000 – a 25 per cent increase from 2018-19.
They motioned the state government should fund the first 12 months of the levy due to the short notice received in May, and to redesign the scheme to ensure it was fairer for councils and communities.
Dubbo Regional Council called for the same in May this year.
“Dubbo Regional Council’s annual fee for 2019-20 is $1.2 million. This is an increase of $198,137 on the previous 12 months and this has the potential to impact on Council’s ability to deliver other projects,” Mayor Ben Shields told Dubbo Photo
“Council is still very committed to ensuring the NSW Government acknowledges the impost and funds the levy for 2019-20 themselves, but if that doesn’t occur, Council will review its budget and find a way to accommodate this shocking cost ourselves,” he said.
The increase itself isn’t altogether a surprise. Legislation for the levy passed in November 2018 and the state government deferred collection of the levy in July 2017.
At that time, Dubbo Regional Council interim administrator Michael Kneipp said Council was prepared to collect the levy for the NSW Government.
“It’s important to note that that the NSW Government has said it is willing to take the time to get this levy right and make it fair for everyone,” he also said at that time.
The legislation states the NSW Government had until April 30 to announce its intention, but regional councils aren’t “buying” it, with notice reaching them on May 4.
Councils across NSW and their associations have expressed widespread concern and “uproar” over the cost, and timing, given current drought conditions.
The Emergency Services Levy will fund Workers Compensation benefits, new vehicles, new equipment and operational costs of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW, resulting in a $160 million increase in funding from July 1, 2019. EVEN Superheroes Need A Mental Health Day Sometimes – or ESNAMHDS for short – is a free community event scheduled for Saturday, October 19, in Dubbo’s Victoria Park. The event has been created by Lorna Brennan from Buninyong Schools as Communities.
The idea came from realising Mental Health Month in October has such a huge emphasis on adolescents and adults and not much for early childhood.
ESNAMHDS is in the planning stages, with many services in the Dubbo area collaborating to ensure the children and parents attending have an eventful day.
The aim is to bring a mental health awareness to parents for themselves and their young children.