The NSW Government will fund the increase in the emergency services levy for council to meet the cost of new workers' compensation for firefighters.
The increase came without warning in May this year when most councils had finalised their 2019/20 budgets.
Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders, this week announced that three councils in the electorate are recipients. With Mid-Western Regional Council, Dubbo Regional Council, and Narromine Shire Council to receive $124,719, $155,424, and $51,139 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."
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the Government would provide $13.6 million to the State's 128 councils to assist to pay the increase in the emergency services levy to help fund workers' compensation for firefighters.
"Our emergency services have long been funded through a cost sharing arrangement between insurers, councils and the Government and it's important that this continues to ensure we look after the health and wellbeing of our frontline firefighters," she said. "We have listened to the concerns of local councils and will continue to consult with them to better manage the impacts of the emergency services levy, especially on their annual budgeting cycles.
"It is clear that both State and local governments acknowledge the importance of providing support for those emergency services workers who have given so much to protect communities and I look forward to continuing to work with local councils to ensure this is the case."
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 bungled the FESL from the very beginning."