The State Government has deferred the introduction of the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL).
The FESL was to replace the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) which has been collected through insurance policy premiums. Councils across the state were to collect the FESL on behalf of the State Government through a new line item on rates notices from 1 July 2017. The Emergency Services Levy will now continue to be collected using the existing system through insurance companies until the NSW Government has completed its review of the FESL.
General Manager of Glen Innes Severn Council, Hein Basson, noted the amount of work staff have already done to comply with the proposed introduction of the Government’s FESL legislation. “Council will now need to undo this work and return to the previous system. While all councils recognise and support the need to properly fund fire and emergency services, there has been significant costs associated with this preparation and deferment of the FESL,” Mr Basson said.
The State Government has decided to re-examine the collection of the FESL and develop a method that will ensure small to medium businesses and property owners do not face an unreasonable burden in their contribution to the State’s fire and emergency services.
Chief Financial Officer, Paul Della, said that as a result of the deferral of the Fire and Emergency Services Levy, ratepayers can (for now) ignore the notice Council sent out to residents in April which contained details of the Levy classification for each property.
“Going forward, Council Rates Notices will not include any details of the FESL, as had been previously advised,” Mr Della said.