Related ArticlesMinister attacks insurers on FSL
Sunrise Exchange News, 1 August 2006
As NIBA’s tax protest campaign begins to bite with politicians, Victorian Emergency Services Minister Tim Holding (pictured) has hit back, attacking the insurance industry for profiteering in the way it charges for the fire services levy (FSL).
The Victorian Government’s responses to the industry’s constant complaints against the FSL have never been particularly logical. Mr Holding says the industry has been profiteering and then blaming the price rises on his Government.
Mr Holding’s argument appears to have lulled the mainstream media into its usual state of unquestioning acceptance, but the insurers say it’s completely unfair and untrue. In fact, the Government sets the amount it requires from the insurers – this year it’s 4.56% higher than last year for metro areas and 11.2% higher for rural areas – and the insurers are expected to work out how to apply charges that best meet it.
Vero Insurance COO Darren Maher told Sunrise Exchange News insurers have no option but to pass the Government’s funding increases on to the policyholder. “It’s not fair that we should have this system – for us or the policyholder.”
He says prudent people who buy insurance are effectively funding the fire services in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
“People who elect not to insure obviously obtain the benefits of this funding,” he said.
The insurers want the levy-applying states to fund the services through property rates, and relieve the insurers of the pressure of trying to hit an impossible levy target.
Mr Maher says even though the Federal Government is asking for less bureaucracy and a more streamlined approach, taxes vary state by state. “This is an area the state governments should be looking at refining.”