NSW Government wastes $25 million on failed fire levy reform

Estimates from the State Treasury have revealed that the NSW Government has pulled the plug on the newly developed fire and emergency services levy (FESL). The decision has caused outrage amongst taxpayers thanks to its $25 million price tag.

Shadow Treasurer, Ryan Park, revealed that while the Treasurer called the new levy the “most significant reform of a generation,” it might also be “the most significant waste of taxpayers funds.”

Previously, the NSW Emergency Services Levy solely applied to home insurance holders. The aim of the new levy was to resolve this issue, making it a fairer system by asking homeowners who have not insured their homes to also help fund the services, through a levy collected along with council rates.

But after encountering “unexpected consequences” of the new proposal, including Sydney homeowners being disproportionately hit with costs, the original ESL will be re-instated.

RELATED: New ‘fairer’ fire services levy scheme to hit Sydney property owners hard

Park went on to say that despite wasting $25 million on the failed scheme and having years “to get this right,” both monitor Allan Fels and deputy monitor David Cousins will keep their positions.

Figures have shown that the Office of Local Government alone approved $11.14 million to councils across the state to be put towards expenses such as land classification, communications and the revision and testing of software and systems. A further $3.49 million was used by the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor in order to oversee the changes.

As well as the Government costs of the scheme, the Insurance Council of Australia has estimated that its members spent  “tens of millions of dollars” in preparation for the changes - a bill that could be passed on to regular Aussies through their home insurance policies as insurers look to recoup costs.

Spokesman Campbell Fuller told insuranceNEWS.com.au that work is now underway to restore the levy to insurance policies, claiming that it “is well advanced in co-operation with the NSW Government and Emergency Service Levy Insurance Monitor.”

With all the upheaval around the levy, it might be time to review your insurance policy. Check out our Home Insurance comparison options to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you.