Regional mayors are welcoming the debate of a bill which could end the dispute around who pays for Rural Fire Service assets.
Local councils have been at loggerheads with the state government over the issue for the past 18 months, arguing councils and ratepayers shouldn't be required to carry the depreciation on assets which they don't control or manage.
The bill, introduced by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, would see the Rural Fires Act 1997 amended and the ownership of RFS assets transferred from local councils to the state government.
"As it currently stands, local councils are legally and financially responsible for firefighting equipment even though they don't have any control over the procurement of those assets, how they are operated, stored, maintained or disposed of," Mr Marshall said.
"This legislative amendment will bring the treatment of all these items in line with how the vehicle and building assets of all other emergency services in NSW are accounted for and remove an enormous and ridiculous cost burden from our local councils and their ratepayers."
The bill has been set down for debate in parliament on Thursday, October 12, and could head to a potential vote.
If passed, all RFS assets, including fire trucks, buildings, water storage towers, lookout towers, and apparatus, would become the responsibility of the state government.
Country Mayors Association chairman and Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said the change was overdue and financial sustainability was the number one concern of regional, rural and remote councils across NSW.
"We estimate that across our membership, if this bill is successful, there'll be a saving of around $30 million a year to our councils," Mr Chaffey said.
"All of that money then goes back into helping us deliver the services our communities deserve.
"I've been speaking with as many crossbenchers and MPs as I possibly can, seeking and requesting that they support this Private Member's Bill simply because of the difference it will make to our membership."
NSW RFS was also contacted for comment, but declined.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.