The State Governments have changed how they collect the fire services levy which helps fund our fire services. This new change will impact home owners and investors.
Previously, the levy was a part of insurance premiums, so only those with an insurance policy would contribute to the fire service levy. However, on July 1 2013, Victoria implemented a new system which saw the levy removed from insurance policies and added to council rates, so now all property owners are contributing. Other states have also made similar changes.
Although the purpose of this fire service levy was to create a fairer system, there has been some backlash from property investors as these extra costs may affect their financial return. However, each state calculates the charges differently, so homeowners and investors should check with their state government to see what changes apply to them.
Here are the main changes made or will be made by the State Governments:
New South Wales: The Government is looking to move to a fire services property tax. For more information on the proposed changes, have a look at the discussion paper released in 2012.
Queensland: From January 2014, the new “emergency management, fire and rescue” levy will apply to all liable properties. However, there is a discount for pensioners. More information here.
ACT: In the 2013-14 financial year, The Fire and Emergency Services Levy will be a fixed charge of $120.00 for residential and rural properties. Pensioners will receive a discount. More information here.
Tasmania: For the 2013-14 financial year, land holders are required to pay a minimum of $36.00. More information here.
South Australia: This emergency services levy will increase to 0.001108 for the 2013-14 financial year. More information here.
Western Australia: For the 2013-14 financial year, the minimum fire services property levy is $60. There are different maximum amounts depending on where you live. More information here.
Northern Territory: There is not a fire levy for Northern Territory residents as fire services are funded directly from consolidated revenue.