Mid-Western regional homeowners are expected to be hit with an extra $185 on their rates notice, following changes to the emergency services levy.
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The levy funds Fire and Rescue NSW, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service. Currently, three-quarters of the $950 million it takes to run the emergency services comes via a tax from insurance companies.
Land owners will be able to calculate the exact amount they will be paying at the fire and emergency services levy website from May 1.
The amount charged to each landowner will be based on the emergency services budget each year, as well as the unimproved land value of each property, calculated by the NSW Valuer-General.
For residential landowners there will be an annual fixed charge of $100 plus an additional amount calculated on the unimproved land value. For farms, industrial and commercial landholders the fixed charge will be $200 plus the additional amount.
The Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan said the changes to the levy would make insurance more affordable and should help reduce the incidence of non-insurance and under-insurance in the community. By spreading the charge throughout the community, he said most households would be an average of $47 better off each year.
Within the Central West, the levy has had a mixed response. Dubbo Regional Council has described the levy as a ‘good move’. But Cowra Council has requested an urgent meeting with the Deputy Premier to discuss issues over the handling of the levy. Mid-Western Regional Council stated – “it is inappropriate to comment because the details of the levy are yet to be passed by parliament”.
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