Official Media Release

Upper Hunter Councils To Save $1.8 Million In Emergency Services Levy Funding

Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter today announced that councils in the Upper Hunter Electorate will be able to direct an extra $1.8 Million into frontline COVID-19 response efforts and core community services thanks to the NSW Government fully funding the local government increase in the emergency services levy (ESL) for 2020-21.

Mr Johnsen said the NSW Government’s recent $395 million local government economic stimulus package includes $32.76 million to fund this year’s increase.

“Our emergency services have long been funded through a cost sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the Government,” Mr Johnsen said.

“While we all acknowledge the importance of supporting our emergency services workers, local councils simply cannot afford this financial impost in the wake of COVID-19, bushfires and drought.

“This saving will allow our local councils to redirect funds to critical core services and deliver financial support for the local community,” Mr Johnsen said.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit councils hard financially and the Nationals in Government are determined to limit the impacts and allow councils to deliver for communities across the State.

“I am delighted that we have secured this funding injection for our local councils which they can redirect to core community services and providing financial support for their local communities.

Council ESL increase for 2020-21 being funded by the NSW Government
Dungog Shire Council $5,813
Liverpool Plains Shire Council $172,421
Mid-Coast Council $689,885
Mid-Western Regional Council $313,193
Muswellbrook Shire Council $186,922
Singleton Council $262,533
Upper Hunter Shire Council $246,879

Revenue NSW will shortly issue councils with their ESL assessment notices for 2020-21 as required by legislation. The Office of Local Government will pay a grant to each council equivalent to the increase in their ESL contribution for 2020-21.

In 2019-20 the NSW Government provided $13.6 million to fund the ESL increase for local councils to pay for new workers’ compensation arrangements for firefighters with cancer.

The COVID-19 local government economic stimulus package also includes a $112.5 million Council Job Retention Allowance to minimise job losses in the local government sector and a $250 million boost to low-interest infrastructure loans for local councils to help drive jobs and investment.