THE tab for some funding provided by ratepayers to state emergency services units will now be picked up by state taxpayers.
Kingston Council will no longer contribute about $16,000 annually to Chelsea and Moorabbin units of the SES but the state government will ensure there is no overall loss of funding from the 2017-18 financial year onwards.
Council is ending the funding from ratepayers since the state government decided to axe a 50-50 funding split with councils across Victoria by investing an extra $112.6 million each year towards the SES units across the state.
Kingston mayor Cr David Eden said council will continue to support the Chelsea and Moorabbin SES units and thanked volunteers for their efforts helping the community in times of need.
Council provides about $117,000 worth of in-kind support for both units’ accommodation.
“Kingston Council will be proud to continue its other support to ensure our local SES units are supported,” Cr Eden said.
“Our local SES volunteers do an incredible job helping those in need and Council is pleased to support them in their great work.”
Chelsea SES spokesman Phil Wall noted Kingston Council had never wavered in its support for local crews.
Some other councils pulled funding last year before the state government announced it would end the 50-50 funding split with local government and pick up the total funding tab.
“The City of Kingston pledged their ongoing support of our unit last year when there was a lot of uncertainty regarding SES funding by some local councils,” Mr Wall said.
“This simply confirms that they intend to stand by the promises that were made back then which is fantastic.”
Chelsea SES controller Ron Fitch said the unit has “a great relationship” with council.
“It is wonderful to have the certainty that these funds deliver, especially when added to their tangible support and working partnership, involved in the construction of the new Chelsea headquarters,” he said.
The state government confirmed in its May annual budget that $2.8 million is on its way to build a new base on the corner of Nepean Highway and Station St, Aspendale for Chelsea area state emergency services.