Fire union claims new tax to hit households
Government says there needs to be a fairer way of funding the cost of fire and rescue services, after the firefighters’ union accused it of letting the insurance industry off the hook.
The union claims the government is considering slugging every household up to $300 per year to pay for emergency services.
Currently the insurance industry picks up 75 per cent of the cost through a levy on policies.
The union’s Jim Casey says if the change is adopted, it will deliver a windfall to insurance companies.
“The Government has been quite upfront that they want to get rid of the levy that insurance companies pay towards the upkeep of the fire brigade (and) replace that with some type of poll tax or tax on households,” he said.
“The only people who are going to be winning out of that are the insurance companies.”
The Treasurer Mike Baird says a discussion paper is looking at different funding models but nothing has been decided yet.
“We are in the midst of a consultation process,” he said.
“I encourage the union, to every other stakeholder and council, to engage.
“What we’re interested in doing is creating a fairer system for New South Wales.
“At the moment what you have is people who pay their insurance contribute to emergency services and those who don’t have insurance don’t pay.”
The firefighters’ union has launched an advertising blitz against any proposed tax.
Firefighters are also fighting the Government over temporary station closures.