Emer­gency levy on hold

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

An emer­gency ser­vices levy that was sched­uled to be im­ple­mented from July 1 has been post­poned.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to de­lay the in­tro­duc­tion of the Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Levy (FESL) ‘‘to en­sure small to medium busi­nesses do not face an un­rea­son­able bur­den’’.

NSW Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said while in the ma­jor­ity of cases fully in­sured peo­ple would be bet­ter off un­der the new sys­tem, it had be­come clear that some fully in­sured busi­nesses were fac­ing un­in­tended neg­a­tive con­se­quences.

‘‘We are a gov­ern­ment that lis­tens, and we have heard the con­cerns from the com­mu­nity, and we will take the time to get this right,’’ Ms Bere­jik­lian said.

‘‘While the new sys­tem pro­duces fairer out­comes in the ma­jor­ity of cases, some peo­ple — par­tic­u­larly in the com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial sec­tors — are worse off by too much un­der the cur­rent model, and that is not what we in­tended.’’

The levy was de­signed as a fairer way to cover the costs of emer­gency ser­vices across the state, which is cur­rently funded through those with in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums.

It was to be col­lected in the lo­cal area by Mur­rumbidgee and Berrigan Shire coun­cils re­spec­tively, as an ad­di­tional charge on rates no­tices.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment has said it will work with lo­cal gov­ern­ment, fire and emer­gency ser­vices, the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and other stake­hold­ers to find a bet­ter and fairer path for­ward.

The Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Levy will con­tinue to be col­lected via in­sur­ance poli­cies un­til the is­sues are re­solved.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion can be found at www.fesl.nsw.gov.au.

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