Scraping SES voluntary donations
TWEED Shire Council may axe all its voluntary donations to SES branches after the State Government introduced a new system of compulsory payments to a centralise statewide SES account.
Councillors are today due to consider a recommendation from sen-ior staff that they tell the SES they intend to stop making voluntary contributions to the service from July 1.
The move follows a decision to charge the council a compulsory emergency service levy of $56,658 in the 2011/12 financial year rising to $97,906 in 2014/15.
This year the levy was $47,215 and last year $33,764 – but the council is also required by law to provide training and storage facilities plus office accommodation for the SES free of charge.
Last financial year that cost the council $228,300 and it also ploughed in $83,460 in voluntary contributions for equipment, maintenance and operational costs.
Under the plan those contributions would be scrapped.
Staff have told the council: “Initially the withdrawal of voluntary contributions will result in a net decrease in council’s fin-ancial contributions. This however will diminish as further incremental increases in the levy are applied.”
Despite the initially lower council funding, Murwillumbah SES unit controller Chris Chrisostomos was unperturbed.
“Some councils were very hesitant to support SES units but the Tweed was very supportive,” Mr Chrisostomos said.
“Under this scheme we will be getting less than we were before, but a lot of areas which were battling to get anything out of their council will be better off.
“We will just go with the flow.”