It’s not a fairer fire levy if it doesn’t go to fire protection.
That’s what you’re paying for.
The Napthine Government has savagely cut the budgets of Victoria’s fire services. At the same time the Napthine Government is collecting more money than ever from Victorians through the Fire Services Levy. Victorian ratepayers are funding a massive profit to insurance companies, and the Napthine Government is cutting back its spending on community protection.
The Napthine government has forgotten the lessons of Black Saturday. What happened to its promise to implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission? Where are the promised 342 extra firefighters for the CFA? Our fire services are at breaking point. Cutting community safety is false economy.
Write to your MPs about your fire levy concerns.
Victorians are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for fire
protection they’re not getting.
On July 1 2013 the Napthine Government introduced its new Fire Services Levy.
The Government advertises that the Fire Services Levy is a fairer levy because the cost is being shared by more Victorians. But it’s not a fairer levy if it’s not going to fire protection.
The United Firefighters Union’s independent financial
analysis of the new Fire Services Levy shows:
- the Fire Service Levy has grown from $322 million in 2009,
to $654 million in 2012.
- at the same time, the Napthine Government has been slashing the CFA and MFB budgets
- the Napthine Government has failed to implement the recommendations of the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission, and has failed to employ the promised extra 342 firefighters for the CFA
- the Fire Services Levy is collecting more money than the CFA & MFB is spending – in 2011-2012 they banked $157 million
- Victorians have also funded a windfall profit to insurers during the transition from the old insurance-based scheme to the new rates-based scheme
- under the old scheme – and the first year of the new scheme – the State Government pays 22.5% of the CFA budget and 12.5% of the MFB budget
- but the legislation does not show what will happen after 2013-2014 – the Government could cut its contribution and increase the levy paid by ratepayers
- the old scheme mandated that money collected from the Fire Services Levy had to go to the fire services
- there is no requirement that all the money collected under the new Fire Services Levy goes to the fire services
Victorian firefighters are demanding that:
- the Fire Services Levy be spent on fire protection
- the budgets of the CFA and MFB be restored
- the recommendations of the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission be implemented without further delay
Victoria’s fire services are financially stressed.
The problems faced daily by firefighters are growing: incompatible hose couplings, three systems of breathing apparatus, radios that don’t work on the fireground or inside buildings like shopping centres (eg Fountain Gate) and hospitals (eg Knox) and the list goes on and on.
Brand new fire trucks for community protection have stood idle for up to two years because there is no staff for them (eg Mildura), or they won’t fit in the fire stations they’re intended for (eg Corio, Warrnambool).
Volunteers are also suffering due to budget cuts which have led to second-hand protective clothing, a cap in recruiting volunteers, less training, and brigades being forced to raise their own funds for operational expenses.
The Napthine government is stepping away from its responsibility for community protection. They have forgotten the lessons of Black Saturday. Demand that the Fire Services Levy goes to the Fire Services – and is spent on community protection, not banked.