Budget fleece

A $440,000 hit to the budget has Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour fuming.

‘Cost-shifting’ to cause blowout

He said the NSW Government’s plan to increase the emergency services levy it collected from councils and insurers to fund emergency services agencies to address a workers’ compensation shortfall, could mean cuts to planned initiatives or services.

A HIKE in the emergency services levy to cover a worker’s compensation shortfall, has been described by Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour as “a joke if it wasn’t so serious”.

He suggested the State Government, which collects the levy, should review its own operations to see how it could deal with the additional costs, rather than cost-shift them across to councils. 

“Let’s be clear, this is not about our emergency services. They do a great job and we know how important they are,” he said.

Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour

“Indeed, many NSW council staff and councillors are volunteers.

“This is about this Government managing its own budget, not cost-shifting yet another blowout onto councils.

“Our residents have copped the biggest hit of $440,000, double the City of Sydney.”

The council received an invoice from Revenue NSW for $4,510,467 for its emergency services levy contribution – a 10.8 per cent increase. 

The Mayor said the increase would mean council would need to find additional funds and/or cut planned initiatives or services.

He said the extra $439,997 the council is being asked to pay, is a large amount and the impact of this unplanned cost will certainly be felt by the community.

The council will join Local Government NSW in calling on the NSW Government to fund the first 12 months of this extra cost and “work with local governments to ensure the implementation of the funding mechanism is fairer, more transparent, equitable and accountable into the future”.

“I intend on writing to the relevant Ministers and our local members of parliament to raise this issue with them and seek their support.”