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GRANT SETS FACTS STRAIGHT ON FIRE SERVICES LEVY

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Member for Dubbo Troy Grant has outlined the facts of the Fire Services Levy review after he says it had been inaccurately reported in recent Sydney media.

"The recent coverage of the issue has been misrepresented as objections to the potential changes to funding of the system have been attributed to the Volunteer Fire-fighters, it is however the Union related to the paid employees of the Rural Fire Service that are raising these concerns," Mr Grant said.

"This criticism has been soundly denounced by the President of the Volunteer Fire-fighters Association as being inappropriately raised while communities and volunteers are challenged by some of the most dangerous weather and fire conditions in the State's history."

Mr Grant said that before the election the NSW Government committed to review the funding for emergency services because the current system is unfair and inefficient.

"The levy is currently passed on when you pay home insurance so there is a disincentive to insure, this means NSW home owners who are either not insured or under-insured do not contribute their fair share of funding of our emergency services, but still receive the same coverage as those who pay full insurance," said Mr Grant.

NSW has the highest rate of non-insurance in Australia with 36% of NSW home owners not taking out home insurance.

"The majority of Australian states fund their emergency services using a property levy or are moving to do so," said Mr Grant.

"The experience in WA and SA has been that the reduction in the cost of insurance has been passed on to customers, the Federal Government’s Henry Tax Review also recommended the move to a property based levy".

Mr Grant said that in last year’s Budget the NSW Government announced it would consult with the community on future funding of emergency services and a 3-month consultation process was then undertaken to ensure all stakeholders could have their say and that is what is happening.

The Government has made no final decision about the levy and there is no proposal to change the total level of funds currently provided for fire and emergency services.

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