Gil­gan­dra Coun­cil not bow­ing to State’s emer­gency levy plan

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.