On 30 May 2017 Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet made the surprise announcement that the NSW Government will defer the introduction of the Fire and Emergency Services Levy to ensure small to medium businesses do not face an unreasonable burden in their contribution to the State’s fire and emergency services.
The NSW Government will work with local government, fire and emergency services, the insurance industry and other stakeholders to find a better and fairer path forward. No useful detail has been released on where the unfairness actually arose that would support such a significant decision.
The plan is to effect legislation that reintroduces the old ESL levy arrangement in relation to insurance companies as soon as possible.
The issue will be who funds the gap in collections that will arise because insurers have been tapering rates to take account of the proposed removal of the levies. Insurer will need to adjust pricing to take account of the reintroduction of the levies.
The legislation that introduced the new property based levy will simply be put on hold until the issues are resolve (supposedly in July 2019).
The Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor (the Monitor) is to oversee a “smooth continuation” of the existing system and ensure insurance companies collect only the amounts necessary to meet fire and emergency services funding requirements.
The Monitor has updated the content of the section 30 notice Insurance companies are obliged to provide. Industry has advised Government that this is a pointless exercise which unnecessarily increases cost so watch this space.
For further information on the changes refer to the Monitor’s website.
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