Local Government NSW (LGNSW) represents the interests of member councils on issues relating to emergency management, including Planning, Preparation, Response and Recovery (PPRR) activities, natural disaster relief, and the emergency services levy.
Local government has specific roles and responsibilities as prescribed by a framework of plans, guidelines and committees for emergency PPRR activities. More information on these roles and responsibilities can be found on the NSW Government’s Office of Emergency Management website.
National Natural Disaster Arrangements
The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was established on 20 February 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-20 which resulted in loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction.
The Royal Commission will focus on:
- The changing global climate and natural disaster risks.
- The impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on communities, and the built and natural environments.
- Responsibilities of the Commonwealth in relation to natural disaster arrangements.
LGNSW appeared before the Royal Commission and provided a submission. LGNSW emphasised the need for increased funding for disaster mitigation and improving resilience.
The Royal Commission is to provide its report by 31 August 2020.
NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry
The NSW independent Bushfire Inquiry was established in early 2020 in response to the extreme bushfire season of 2019-20 which resulted in loss of life, property and wildlife and environmental destruction. The Inquiry is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires.
LGNSW made a comprehensive submission to the Inquiry
Emergency Services Levy
The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) is collected from insurance policy holders (73.7%), the NSW Government (14.6%) and NSW local councils (11.7%) to help fund the NSW State Emergency Service (SES), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).
LGNSW reviews and monitors council contributions to the ESL each year to identify any concerns or significant increases. To that end, LGNSW’s policy position is that the ESL should be replaced by a broad-based property levy (BBPL), which would provide a more equitable, transparent and accountable system.
Until a BBPL is implemented, LGNSW advocates that councils should be allowed to automatically increase their rates to cover the full cost of the ESL, separate from the rate pegging process.
LGNSW advocated the removal of the ESL in our submissions to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry (See above).
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