The NSW Government will help fund the increase in the emergency services levy for Cootamundra-Gundagai, Narrandera, Junee, Cowra, Temora, Bland, Weddin, Hilltops and Coolamon Councils to meet the cost of new workers’ compensation for firefighters, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said today.

Ms Cooke said all of the electorate’s nine Councils would receive funding to assist them to pay the increase in the emergency services levy this financial year to help support firefighters with cancer.

“The Government acknowledges that this additional cost presented some challenges for our local councils,” Ms Cooke said.

“We also acknowledge that our local councils had already set their 2019-20 Budgets before the invoices for the increased emergency services levy were issued and this has caused some angst.

“That’s why the Government will provide council $605,702 across all nine Local Government Areas this financial year to alleviate the immediate pressure on our local councils,” she added.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the Government would provide $13.6 million to the State’s 128 councils to help pay 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.”