The NSW government has acknowledged an increase to the emergency service levy charged to councils had presented "challenges" and will now fund the increased costs itself.
The increase came without warning in May this year when most councils had finalised their 2019/20 budgets.
The state government upped the cost of the levy due to an increase in workers compensation coverage for volunteer and career firefighters.
I am pleased the government has woken up to itself and agreed to fund the increase to the levy.Mayor Ben Shields
Mayor Ben Shields said he was pleased intense lobbying from NSW council's had worked.
"I am pleased the government has woken up to itself and agreed to fund the increase to the levy," he said.
"They have realised they can't charge the council for something they never warned us about.
"The NSW government are fully aware the council had gone through the process of creating our budget and then to whack an extra charge on to us a couple of weeks afterwards was unfair.
"They know this, and it is good they have listened to public opinion and will fund the increase themselves."
Member for Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said Dubbo Regional Council, Narromine Shire Council and Mid-Western Regional Council would receive $155,424, $51,139 and $124,719 respectively 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," he 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 councils in the Dubbo electorate a total of more than $330,000 this financial year to alleviate the immediate pressure."
Emergency services are historically funded through a cost-sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the state government.
Opposition local government spokesman Greg Warren said the NSW government was kicking the can down the road.
"This is not a fix or a long-term plan," he said.
"The Berejiklian government is just giving the impression that it is bowing to pressure, and the matter is still unresolved after more than two years.
"The Berejiklian government has bungled the FESL from the very beginning."
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