Enable Financial Sustainability
It’s fair to say there is very little in the Budget that will substantially improve the financial sustainability of local government in NSW.
Disappointingly, the Government has refused to fund rate concessions for those suffering from hardship as the result of natural disasters such as the Black Summer bushfires or recent floods. Instead, the Budget proposes $80 million for a working capital fund to provide concessional loans to councils impacted by natural disaster.
Another $78.5 million - $314 million over four years – has been set aside to continue the existing funding arrangements for pensioner rate rebates. This is a missed opportunity to improve the living standards of NSW pensioners, and leaves NSW the only state that does not fully fund rate rebates to this population group.
The Budget also includes the $43 million paid to councils to fully offset the 2022-23 increase in the Emergency Services Levy, but this does nothing to resolve the underlying problem of the ESL and the need for an alternative model for the funding of emergency services.
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