Is the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) dead and buried?

Article published 1 February 2019

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THAT question was asked by the NSW Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee inquiry into the Fire and Emergency Services Levy. The response of a senior NSW Treasury official was, “… the Treasurer is on record as saying that the FESL in its current form is dead, buried and cremated”.

The FESL was meant to replace the hidden levy that was part of insurance policies. It was to be levied on the unimproved value of land, which meant anyone in a modest house in Sydney would have paid a squillion, while the owner of a modest house in the country would have paid very little.

CPSA’s evidence at this inquiry, quoted extensively in the final report, is reflected in some of the recommendations the Committee has made in the event this or any future NSW Government decides to have another go at an FESL.

Specifically, the Committee recommends that, if the FESL is ever resurrected, the impact on lower socio economic households who are currently unable to afford building and contents insurance should be addressed.

The Committee also says that if an FESL is ever introduced that the improved value of land should be used as a basis for calculation in addition, motor vehicles, the Committee says, should attract an FESL if ever one is introduced.

Hopefully we won’t ever have to worry about this and the FESL will remain dead, buried and cremated.

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