EMERGENCY SERVICES LEVY —
LOCAL GOVERNMENT GRANT SCHEME
997. Hon RICK MAZZA to the minister representing the
Minister for Emergency Services:
refer to the 15 September 2019 ABC news article ''Volunteer rescue
groups call for greater share of ratepayer-funded Emergency Services
(1) How are ESL funds calculated for
allocation to local governments?
(2) Will the
government give further attention to the system of grants distribution through
councils to reduce red tape?
(3) If yes to (2), how and when;
and, if no to (2), why not?
the increase in the ESL to raise an estimated $120 million for the
establishment and operation of the Rural
Fire Division, what progress has been made in establishing the ESL referral and
grants advisory committee, as announced by the Premier in the 13 April
2018 media statement ''Rural Fire Division to drive new era of enhanced
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question, on behalf of the Minister for Environment. The
Minister for Emergency Services has provided the following answer.
(1) Funding for
bush fire brigades and State Emergency Service units is allocated via the local
government grant scheme process in which local governments apply for an
operating grant and a capital grant for each service.
Capital grants are allocated based on scheduled fleet replacement life cycles
and local government requests for facility, fleet and equipment.
Requests are assessed against statewide priorities. Operating grants are
calculated using the average of the past two years acquitted expenditure—actual
expenditure trends—and the current year allocation indexed at the
prevailing cost escalation index.
LGGS working group comprising representatives from the Western Australian Local
Government Association, the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades, the
State Emergency Service Volunteer Association and the Department of Fire and
Emergency Services has been established to provide a consultative forum between
stakeholders for matters pertaining to the LGGS. The main function of the group
is to promote and provide open dialogue with the aim to make the LGGS process
more streamlined, democratic, visible, sustainable and fit-for-purpose. To
date, two meetings have been held with the following focus areas identified and
actioned that include: LGGS transparency and communication improvements;
operating grant baseline budget establishment, the review methodology used to
determine allocation; LGGS manual for capital and operating grant, to review
the descriptive and prescriptive nature of the guidelines; and, review of
expenditure item eligibility. A series of meetings is planned for the remainder
of 2019 to complete this work with outcomes to be included in the 2020–21
(4) The ESL
referral and grants advisory committee is in the final stages of establishment
and it will be in place for the next budget process.