Hot under collar over fire levy

RATEPAYERS could be hit with an extra $200 a year if the state government upholds a recommendation to reform funding for the fire service levy, according to the Local Government and Shires Association.

A review by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) found that fire services funding contributions are one of the least efficient of state taxes.

IPART recommends replacing the fire services levy with an increase in the current contribution from councils, who would, in turn, increase rates. The Local Government and Shires Association claim this increase would slap ratepayers with 86 per cent of the burden of running the NSW Fire Brigade and the Rural Fire Service, or an extra $200 per ratepayer.

“Councils and ratepayers have no say over fire service budgets or the running of our fire services, yet are going to be forced to pay for them,” Shires president Bruce Miller said. “Ratepayers will assume councils have instigated the increase, yet none of the extra money can be used to fund local infrastructure.”

The IPART tax review recommends reform because it claims non-contributors benefit from the provision of fire services without contributing to the cost. The draft IPART review is open for submissions until July 11.



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