GREG'S LEGACY

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Fire services tax increase for rural properties

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The Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, said the Fire Services Levy insurance in country Victoria will increase this month.

“This increase is another example of the Bracks Government hitting the hip pocket of country people. The Fire Services Levy (FSL) is a tax imposed on insurance to fund fire services including the CFA,” Dr Sykes said.

“The problem with this tax is that it’s fundamentally inequitable. Ultimately, the cost of the levy is paid for by people who take out property insurance, with a great burden borne by those who live in the country.”

“And the latest increase in FSL will only hit businesses and farms in the country, as the levy has not been increased for city-based business. This will place a further burden on country families and businesses who are already struggling because of the continuing affects of the drought.”

Dr Sykes said he had been informed that from 23 February the Victorian Fire Service Levy on Fire/ISR/Consequential Loss and Contractors risk – excluding public liability would both increase four percent to 47%. It should be noted that in NSW Fire/ISR/Consequential Loss is down two percent to 34%.

“The FSL is an archaic way of funding our fire services as it apportions the burden of the cost on responsible property owners while allowing others to ‘free ride’ and effectively avoid paying for the fire services freely available to them.

“The Nationals recognise the stupidity of the current system of funding fire services.

“The Nationals have proposed replacing the FSL with a more equitable combination of direct government contributions, a charge on property valuations and a small charge on motor vehicle registration,” said Dr Sykes.

“I believe if there was a fairer system of funding our vital fire services such as the CFA more people would be encouraged to take out insurance which would ease the burden,” Dr Sykes said.

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Written by Greg Naylor

5 February 2007 at 9:35 pm

Posted in media release

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