The Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains shire mayors are pleased that an increased levy cost, which would have affected its residents, will now be paid in full by the state government.
Gunnedah Shire Council had been given an increased cost of $47,000, and Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) an extra $83,994 for the Emergency Services Levy, for which neither had prepared in their 2019/2020 budgets.
These costs have now been scrapped for the first year by Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock.
LPSC mayor Andrew Hope congratulated the state government on recognising that the increased amount "would cost communities, particularly those in rural and regional areas, affected by the drought".
"The first we knew of the increase was when we opened a bill from Revenue NSW and saw levy spikes. It arrived after the preparation of the 2019/20 budget, so came as a real blow to finances," Cr Hope said.
"I reiterate that LPSC, in fact local government statewide, fully supports efforts to ensure fair workers' compensation for volunteer and career firefighters around the state.
"We are indebted to them for the risks they take and the role they play to protect us."
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said he had personally written to Ms Hancock on behalf of the council and Namoi Unlimited to express his "sincere gratitude".
He said a "burden" of $13.6 million "would have been on [the state's 128] local governments without any prior notice that was put onto councils".
"These actions by the local government minister shows that we have a state government that is listening and prepared to work with regional councils like the Gunnedah Shire Council."
Cr Chaffey said the council supported the reason for the levy increase, and it welcomed the "workers compensation arrangements that are now available to those people who are defending our shire in times of need, our firefighters".