Bushfire sparks push for emergency levy

TASMANIANS look set to face a new levy to pay for fire and emergency services. This is despite the fact that during the last election campaign, the Liberal Government committed to no new taxes.

Following the damaging Rosebery bushfire in December, Emergency Services Minister Felix Ellis said the Government was finalising a new funding model for fire and emergency services.

“The current fire and emergency service funding model is unfair and unsustainable,’’ Mr Ellis said.

“It has been the subject of Parliamentary Committees and two independent reviews with repeated recommendations for improvements.

“We are committed to establishing a fair and sustainable funding model to ensure critical emergency services are provided to our community.

“Ensuring a fair and sustainable funding model is vital, particularly with the increased frequency of emergency events such as the October floods and the recent Rosebery bushfire.”

A review of the Fire Service Act in 2020 by former Auditor-General Mike Blake recommended replacing all current sources of SES and fire funding with a single, property-based levy, with Treasury to determine exactly how to levy and collect the approximately $100 million per year required.