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An insurance industry expert has hosed down fire service union claims that a proposal to axe the NSW fire services levy (FSL) will unfairly burden ratepayers.

NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union state secretary Simon Flynn dismissed as “outrageous” an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) proposal to axe the levy in favour of a property rates-based tax.

He told media the proposal was an attempt “by the NSW Government to load up the ratepayers and taxpayers”.

But NIBA consultant John Hanks told insuranceNEWS.com.au a well-designed property-based system should collect adequate revenue from all users of the fire services.

“The state government is in a good position to collect the levy but there would need to be some allowance for varying levels of risk,” he said.

“It would require real consultation on how the budgets of fire services are set. Ideally input would come from a wide variety of people with differing views. The fire services have to be reasonably funded but there must be balance.

”IPART’s proposal was contained in a draft report on state taxation published on June 13.The economic regulator said the FSL compels insured residents to fund the fire services on behalf of uninsured residents who have equal access but contribute nothing.

The insurance industry backs the proposal.