The NSW Government has increased the Emergency Services Levy it charges North Sydney Council by 11%.
This year’s levy will be $1,414,380, which is $140,528 more than in 2018/19.
This is effectively incorporated into general rates, with Council acting as a collection agent on behalf of the State Government. While Council budgets for an annual increase, the late notice of the substantial 11% increase has created a gap of $107,380 in our annual budget.
In the interest of transparency, Council has prepared this information to provide information on the levy for ratepayers and residents.
Why did the levy increase?
Late last year the NSW Government passed legislation to make it easier for firefighters to make a workers compensation claim if they are diagnosed with work-related cancers. The levy will fund the expansion of workers compensation benefits.
What is Council’s response?
While it is important that firefighters are protected, Council is concerned about the cost shifting to local government, and the State charge being hidden in Council rates. North Sydney Council has resolved to write to the Minister for Local Government and Shadow Minister expressing concern about the increased cost and shift of costs to local government.
Who pays the levy?
Emergency services in NSW is comprised of Fire and Rescue, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Services. They are currently funded by a levy imposed on home and contents, motor vehicle and commercial property insurance (73.7%) plus contributions from local government (11.7%) and state government.
The council contributions are calculated for each council in the following way:
- Fire and Rescue NSW – considers the expenditure in each fire district with land values used to allocate the levy burden to each local government area within each fire district.
- NSW Rural Fire Service – reflects the 20 year average of Rural Fire Service expenditure in each local government area. (not applicable to North Sydney Council).
- NSW State Emergency Services – considers the population of each local government area.
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