Relieving the strain on council’s budget

THE recent increase in the emergency services levy has put increasing strain on Coffs Harbour City Council's budget.

In recognition of this, the State Government has agreed to fund the increase.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said council will receive $150,042 to assist them to pay the increase in the levy this financial year to help support firefighters with cancer.

"The Government acknowledges this additional cost presented some challenges for our local council," Mr Singh said.

"I'm pleased our council is receiving this financial contribution to help keep its 2019-20 budget in check."

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the Government will provide $13.6 million to the State's 128 councils to fund the increase in the emergency services levy to help fund workers' compensation for firefighters.

"Our emergency services have long been funded through a cost sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the Government and it's important that this continues to ensure we look after the health and wellbeing of our frontline firefighters," Mrs Hancock said.

"We have listened to the concerns of local councils and will continue to consult with them to better manage the impacts of the emergency services levy especially on their annual budgeting cycles.

"It is clear that both State and local governments acknowledge the importance of providing support for those emergency services workers who have given so much to protect communities and I look forward to continuing to work with local councils to ensure this is the case."