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Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) deferred

In Early March 2017 NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet introduced the Fire and Emergency Services Levy Bill.The legislation was designed to effect to reforms announced in 2015 to abolish the Emergency Services Levy (ESL)–paid on insurance –and replace it with a land-based Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), bringing NSW into line with all other mainland states. If passed the legislation would take effect on July 1, 2017 In the media release of the day it said: "Mr Perrottet said the reform would transform an archaic, complex system into one that is fair for everyone." It appears that his definition of fair might not be shared across the community as they very loudly declared that the levy, calculated on unimproved land value determined by the Valuer General,was in the main quite unfair. In a Media Release yesterday the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced NSW Government will defer the introduction of the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) to ensure small to medium businesses do not face an unreasonable burden in their contribution to the State’s fire and emergency services. Ms Berejiklian said that in the majority of cases across NSW, fully insured people would be better off under the new system, however it had become clear that some fully insured businesses were facing unintended consequences. “We are a Government that listens, and we have heard the concerns from the community, and we will take the time to get this right,” Ms Berejiklian said. “While the new system produces fairer outcomes in the majority of cases, some people –particularly in the commercial and industrial sectors –are worse off by too much under the current model, and that is not what we intended.” In a letter to the Beagle Editor Mev Smith writes: Finally the State Government has listened to the public, in regards to this proposed levy. They stated it is not fair, originally it was stated it was fair. Now they state that it could possibly go back to the Insurance Companies to collect. How could this be fairer than what was proposed. For instance if it reverts back to the Insurance Companies only the properties with Insurance Policies will pay this levy. It was stated on the radio the monies for this levy should come out of Consolidated Revenue (the black hole). Now this would be fair. What would be a fair levy for all is that every assessment be charged a levy that is the same. For example the State Government passed Legislation for a Storm Water levy for occupied Residential properties the amount of $25.00, Units $12.50, Business based on square metres. Does this sound fair, hardly think so as vacant land is exempt whether it is zoned Residential or Business inside the area defined. The exemptions for the Storm Water levy is ridiculous as rainfall is rainfall wherever it lands and must be managed by Council. But "No" Legislation is Legislation, whether it is fair or not. The exemptions for the proposed FESL was virtually the same as the Storm water levy, only a select few would have paid. The other issue the State Government should investigate and abolish is the procedure used for Local Government to collect monies to manage the environment ( known on your Rates Notice as the "Environment Levy). This levy is also based on Land Value and cents in the dollar. If the proposed FESL levy was unfair this levy is also unfair, why not a set amount for all, like the infamous Storm Water levy.

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