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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Councils to pick up ‘hidden tax’ for fire and emergency services

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A new levy to be collected by councils passed in NSW parliament last week, prompting a warning from the peak body representing councils that it will ‘no doubt’ have an impact on councils. 

The Fire and Emergency Services Levy Bill 2017 and come into effect on July 1, 2017.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) president, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, says the levy ‘is on top of the 11.7 per cent emergency services levy communities already pay every year via their council rates.’

He said, ‘The government made it clear this was not on the table for negotiation. The 11.7 per cent is a hidden tax. Most people don’t realise they pay it – in most cases it is not listed as a separate line item on rates notices.’

Itemisation

Cr Rhoades has urged councils across the state to itemise the levy in rates notices, ‘showing the amount ratepayers already pay for the existing NSW government emergency services levy.’

But local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin defended the levy, and told parliament last week that it is a ‘major piece of tax reform for NSW.’

‘It is more transparent and it will be fairer, because it shares the burden across all property owners. Everyone benefits from fire and emergency services protection, and everyone should contribute.’


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