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Fire Services Levy increases shameful
The Nationals, 2 June 2009

Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh said this week that the increase in the Fire Service Levy (FSL) was a disgrace and the Brumby Government must to step in and devise a fairer and more equitable system.

“The Fire Services Levy, which is essentially a tax on insurance premiums to fund fire services including the Country Fire Authority (CFA), means that people who insure their home against fire pay for those who do not,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Fire Service Levies pay about 80% of the costs of running the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the State Emergency Service (SES),” Mr Walsh said.

The new fees from July are expected to increase the FSL to 26% on households and 68% on businesses in country Victoria whereas Melbourne premiums will increase 21% and 51% respectively.

A commercial building in country Victoria will pay for example:

Insurance Premium of $1000.00

Terrorism Levy $20.40

Fire Services Levy (63%) $693.87

GST (10%) $171.40

Stamp Duty (10%) $188.57

Total Cost $2074.27

Mr Walsh said a household premium of $1000 would rise to $1,524.60 and on farm items it will rise to $2031.80.

Mr Walsh said the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition in government will review the existing Fire Services Levy and implement a fairer system that provides adequate funding for state fire services.

“The current levy is a strong disincentive to insure against fire, with evidence from the recent bushfires suggesting that approximately 30 per cent of the houses lost were not insured.

“There are other fairer models that fund fire services in other states which more evenly distribute the cost of funding fire services.

“Given the unfairness of the Fire Services Levy which increases insurance premiums of country Victorians by up to 68 per cent, it is crucial that the current system is reviewed.”

“The Brumby Labor Government refuses to acknowledge the Fire Services Levy is a tax, when it clearly is, and the Premier’s inaction demonstrates his complete disregard for country Victorians,” Mr Walsh said.

Media contact: Peter Walsh (03) 5032 3154