The state government has moved to change the way emergency services levies are raised after the Shires Association last month said it could no longer bear the financial burden of supporting the services.
Tweed Council previously passed a motion saying it could no longer afford to fund emergency services in its area.
The government is considering a property-based levy instead, which treasurer Mike Baird said was recommended as part of the Henry tax review.
Funding currently comes from three sources, with the bulk of funding (73.7 per cent) provided by a tax on insurance companies, while the remainder of the funds are provided by local governments (11.7 per cent) and the state government (14.6 per cent).
‘The current system has serious weaknesses and is economically inefficient. Taxing insurance increases the price of insurance and can lead some people to under-insure and others not to insure at all,’ Mr Baird said yesterday.
‘The system is also unfair because people who are either not insured or are under-insured do not contribute to the funding of our emergency services, but still receive the same coverage as those who do pay insurance.’
Emergency services minister Michael Gallacher said no final decision has been made and the government was now seeking community input on the potential design, scope, features and transition to a new emergency services levy.
‘Whatever the final shape of the new levy, there will be no change to the total level of funds currently provided for fire and emergency services,’ Mr Gallacher said.
The discussion paper and public submissions can be found at: www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/ESL.
The public consultation period is open until 8 October 2012.