De facto NSW tax increase?

It seems reasonable at first glance: currently an estimated 60 per cent of NSW homeowners have home insurance and pay a fire services levy. The NSW Government is proposing to charge every homeowner a fixed amount to replace the fire services levy. With 40 per cent of homeowners without home insurance effectively free riding on those with insurance,  one would think that those with insurance might even save money.

But one should read the fine print. According to a Daily Telegraph report, the new levy will be “around $300 per household”.

The most recent fire services levy on my insurance policy was $157.67.

Assuming that the 60 per cent of homeowners pay $157.67 a year is replaced by 100 per cent of homeowners paying $300 a year, that amounts to a 3 fold increase in tax receipts for the new levy.

So there you are. One arm of the NSW Government – the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – aim to maximise the number and intensity of forest fires. Another arm – NSW Treasury – aims to maximise the revenue to fund the fighting of those fires. That’s why more money is needed.

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Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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42 Responses to De facto NSW tax increase?

  1. Anon

    A similar thing is happening in Victoria. Most of the money will be used to pay full time professional firefighters. The government needs to stand up to the UFU. I was a member of the MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) for over twenty years, under Labor governments the UFU has captured the management and effectively runs the fire brigade. The wages and conditions are amazingly good with little real work to do. Kennett did attempt to reduce wages, conditions and running costs however his were clumsy efforts that only paused the process.

    In the US the current and future costs of police and firefighters are creating unpayable long term liabilities. The same is happening in Victioria with this Fire Service Levy as the beginning of even more featherbedding of state employees.

    Professional firefighters in Victoria are the most overpaid, underworked people around. They have the management in their control, governments don’t have the will or desire to change the situation. A good start would be to permit volunteer firefighters to partially man appliances in the MFB area when the professionals are on sick leave (quite often) instead of paying someone double time as well as travelling time and travelling allowance and meal allowances to come in and replace the sick worker.

  2. Rodney

    The article says virtually nothing about insurance levy on business premises.
    I do not have the figures in front of me, but the fire levy on our modest factory runs into thousands of dollars per year, perhaps $5000.
    Reducing the business subsidy of fire services may be part of the point.

  3. dd

    One arm of the NSW Government – the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – aim to maximise the number and intensity of forest fires. Another arm – NSW Treasury – aims to maximise the revenue to fund the fighting of those fires.

    It’s beautiful in its symmetrical elegance.

    The same logic applies elsewhere; for example, one arm of government seeks to minimise the number of dams and supply of water.
    Another arm issues fines for inappropriate use of water.

    Several arms of government increase the cost of housing (land restrictions, building regulations, etc). Other arms of government subsidise housing.

  4. Evcricket

    I just want to know how this position aligns with your trumpeting Miranda Devine’s position yesterday that there should be more fires.

  5. Token

    …Miranda Devine’s position yesterday that there should be more fires.

    I’ve been watchin Evcrickets pathetic attempts at trolling and it has lead me to ask the question – has Hammy taken on another name?

    We couldn’t be blessed with 2 equally moronic trolls, could we?

  6. hammygar

    No I am not Evcricket. I post under my hardly well-hidden nickname, but my real name is Gareth Hamilton, which is well disclosed on my gravatar. For a while I posted as Gareth Hamilton, but it didn’t have the same ring about it. Homer Paxton, who used to comment here, used a number of pseudonyms but everyone knew it was Homer.

    Of course stupid Token is so used to reading the inbred self-congratulatory drivel spouted by the likes of JC on this blog, he never gets out and discovers what the mainstream view is.

  7. Evcricket @ GetUp! Tuesday morning shift (That McTernan is a slave driver isn’t he!)

    Miranda Devine’s position yesterday that there should be more fires.

    More cooler, non-life and property threatening fires in autumn and spring.

    And put out completely any fires starting in summer.

    It took 30 years of non burning to get to this stage, it will take 20-30 years to catch up.

    After then we could just issue every 15 year old boy with a box of matches in April and October.

  8. Token

    Hey Hammy, this guy is trolling on your patch.

    Are you going to report him to your trolling union rep and bring on a full blown trolling demarkation dispute?

  9. Chris M

    Yes, typically government ‘insurances’ cost at least double that of the private sector except they also don’t work as well.

  10. Lew

    The Daily Telegraph article suggests a levy of $300 but also mentions a funding model which would result in a levy of $267 based on a land value of $250,000 and presumably a levy of $534 on a land value of $500,000 etc.Surely this will be the adopted mechanism of extortion as it provides for automatic increases courtesy of the Valuer General simply adjusting the “land value” to achieve the desired revenue outcome.By way of example it’s reported this morning that the Valuer General has decreed that “land values” in Sydney have risen 11% in the last 3 years despite the fact that actual sale prices don’t reflect rises of anything like that percentage.

  11. .

    I just want to know how this position aligns with your trumpeting Miranda Devine’s position yesterday that there should be more fires.

    This is just brain dead.

    Ending clearing rules reduces fire risk at no cost and reduces contingent liabilities, it may even put insurance premiums down.

    More money for fire brigades prevents fires?

    Unless they are doing load reduction or build radiant heat shields for private homes, or rebuild homes with solid brick eaves, I don’t think you understand what firefighters do. Maybe you think they rewire houses with suspect electrics. They don’t.

    Maybe you’re just another low information commentator.

  12. Gab

    This is the same “evcricket” that also said:

    I just think it would be great if there was any evidence of your claim that the Greens are opposed to burning off. Or that there are Green councilors in the electorates where there were fires.

    Or do you just find it easier to say “something bad happened, it must be the Greens”?

    Links or STFU.

    Here ya go, ya loopy green:

    Tasmanian Greens press release issued by Greens Treasury “spokesperson” Tim Morris, June 15, 2012:

    THE Tasmanian Greens today said that residents in and around Maydena deserved better than the intense smoke pollution from commercial forestry burn-offs that they were subjected to this week. “This practice has simply got to stop. It puts people’s health at risk and every time the state is swathed in commercial forestry smoke, our valuable ‘clean, green,’ brand is diluted just a little bit more.” Greens strongly believe Tasmania must free itself from this smoke taint and end commercial forestry burn-offs . . . attempting to burn forest waste at this time of year is highly likely to have this unacceptable result. We’re all better off when this Neanderthal practice stops and disposing of forest by-products is done far more responsibly. The future’s bright without forestry’s smoke pollution,” said Mr Morris.

    Now how about you STFU.

  13. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Well, up go the Sydney rents again. Yet another levy owners have to somehow factor into their sums.

    We haven’t put rents up for two years now in order to give good tenants a break. Can’t do it forever though.

    We have sold other investment properties in Queensland bar one on the Gold Coast because of the completely OTT set of fire and OHS and other property requirements of the Bligh regime – which mostly still stand. Rentals were falling while costs were substantially rising.

  14. Tel

    I just want to know how this position aligns with your trumpeting Miranda Devine’s position yesterday that there should be more fires.

    Controlled fires during winter result in vastly less property damage and loss of life (but you knew that), but if you don’t trust my opinion, I would be willing to leave the decision up to the insurance companies. That would surely be a reasonable compromise?

  15. Tel

    A similar thing is happening in Victoria. Most of the money will be used to pay full time professional firefighters. The government needs to stand up to the UFU. I was a member of the MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) for over twenty years, under Labor governments the UFU has captured the management and effectively runs the fire brigade.

    The one small advantage is that unionized professionals have the grunt to stare down theocratic Green Council dingbats and demand the job gets done properly. The volunteer CFA are perfectly good at managing bushland, but not much chop at fighting the political fires that the unions are a dab hand at. Funny old world.

  16. Julie J

    Why are rural fire brigades voluntary while the city fire brigade is paid. Why is there not a volunteer urban brigade?

  17. Leigh Lowe

    That is utter bullshit Tel.
    Cite one example of MFB Unions standing up to Greenies.
    The lazy pricks know they are on a good wicket and will remain in the station playing computer games and pumping iron rather than ‘fight the good fight’ against the Greens.
    The ABC has a Firies Union implant in Melbourne and they run this line every fire season about amalgamation of the CFA and MFB (ie MFB takeover).
    This is all about extending union coverage so union official can afford better standards of hookers more often (all that pent-up testosterone has to go somewhere).
    Oh …. and if I need a fire fought in my neck of the woods (and it is in the woods) I will take CFA experience and knowledge over clueless union flunkies all day long.

  18. Leigh Lowe

    Gab,

    It goes deeper than formal Greens policies.
    The pricks are smart enough not oppose back-burning outright, but every time a burn is planned their tame councillors and officials insist on reviews, studies, extra supervision and monitoring, consultation blah, blah, blah knowing that if they delay a burn-off from August to November, they win for another year.
    And as the fuel builds year after year, their task becomes easier …. the window for safe burning becomes narrower and the effort becomes greater.

  19. Token

    The one small advantage is that unionized professionals have the grunt to stare down theocratic Green Council dingbats…

    Wow, and should we call in a bunch of outlaw bikies to sort out the union thugs when they ignore the objectives of ratepayers and act in their interest at the cost of everyone else?

  20. I believe in direct action:
    1: Good idea Forester – issue every 15 year old boy with a box of matches in April and October.
    2: Molotov cocktails in 7 – 12 inner suburban distribution power sub stations in one night.
    3: Water pumping stations in cities – knock out half a dozen.

    The guts of it is that politicians will not do anything about our aging infrastructure until the wheels starts squeaking. So make the bastards squeak.

  21. Winston
    Hope the feds don’t read this site. You could be locked up for a couple of weeks (without access to a lawyer or anyone being informed) on suspicion of being a terrorist threat.

  22. Langton Crescent

    I remember as a lad growing up in the Southern Highlands area the calm, sunny, cool winter days being tinged by smoke from controlled burning between Bowral and the outskirts of Sydney. There seems to have been much less burning happening in the cooler months over recent decades.

    I shudder as it has been decades since fire has passed through many of the bushland areas and dam catchments that surround Sydney.

  23. Leigh Lowe

    Token.
    What do you mean “should we call in a bunch of outlaw bikies to sort out the union thugs?”

    The outlaw bikies ARE the union thugs on most sites.

  24. John Comnenus

    I think the technical term for this kind of arrangement is a self licking ice cream.

  25. John Comnenus

    This arrangement is actually a lot like the Mafia business model.

    Exhibit A, first you make the streets unsafe, them you demand ‘protection money’ to make sure you don’t get hurt by the violence the Mafia cause.

    Exhibit B, first you make the forests a tinder box, then you demand ‘protection money’ to make sure you don’t get burned by the fires the State bureaucracy promote.

  26. Alice

    “So there you are. One arm of the NSW Government – the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – aim to maximise the number and intensity of forest fires. Another arm – NSW Treasury – aims to maximise the revenue to fund the fighting of those fires. That’s why more money is needed.”

    We should be used to this crap by now.
    WE all just do our duty and pay more while the economy sinks and the governments rort and waste our money in cahoots with insurance companies.

    Disappointing Bazza. Very disappointing.

  27. Alice

    Lizzie

    “Well, up go the Sydney rents again. Yet another levy owners have to somehow factor into their sums. ”

    I havent put our Sydeny rents up this year. I have good nice regular paying tenants who dont trash the place and pay on time but they are not wealthy but I cant absorb everything either. Everything – rates, now a firelevy, water rates, F****** land tax is outrageous.

  28. The Feds probably do read this site, Kelly. And as far as I’m concerned, if they want to try to lock me up for free speechifying, then fuck ‘em. I’ll pull the Islam defence – quoted out of context, yadayadayada.

  29. Alice

    I am thinking of selling Lizzie even with interest rates this low. I cant ask any more but everything is so expensive to fix / repair etc. Tradies charges are out of control in Sydney where I live.
    Half of their charges are pure bullshit.

  30. hzhousewife

    fellow workmate needs to insulate, 3 quotes, best one 6 grand, hubby went to bunnings and the raw materials will be 1800 bucks, they are going to get 26 yr old son and a mate to come home at Easter and do the job…..

  31. Crossie

    … of the completely OTT set of fire and OHS and other property requirements of the Bligh regime – which mostly still stand.

    I find this and Barry’s inaction hard to understand. They’ve won their elections handily and don’t have to play nice with greens or anyone else to pass legislation so why not scrap harmful policies? My approach would be to go in early and hard, make all the changes, ignore the screams and eventually the dust would settle before the next election. Barry seems to be more interested in irritating his own voters.

  32. Alice

    hzhousewife
    its getting to this – ridiculous quotes all round. Have a bit of getter coming loose from a single downpipe. Thought 850 too much. Got another quote 1100.
    Welcome to Sydney. This is bullshit.

  33. Alice

    Big difference bweteen 6 grand and 1800 materials isnt there?

  34. “And as far as I’m concerned, if they want to try to lock me up for free speechifying, then fuck ‘em”

    Winston love the attitude, let me know how it went in a few weeks time LOL. There is one way to combat these laws though and that is if we all ignore them. So I will second you in agreeing that attacking failing infrastructure might be ok if that will not cause any direct physical harm to an individual. Ok I am a whimp but a start.

  35. Steve

    This is actual documented fire service levy for a Vic. pub I had in 2011. Being classified as ‘rural’ we paid 40% as opposed to 30%(I think) for ‘suburban’ businesses. I often wonder what impact the land/rate based charge woulda had/been?

    Building $1,200,000

    Premium
    $ 6,240.00

    Fire Service Levy
    $ 2,795.52

    GST Amount
    $ 903.55

    Stamp Duty
    $ 993.91

    Total Premium
    $ 10,932.98

    Contents $150,000, Stock $10,000, Gross Revenue $104,681

    Premium
    $ 995.30

    Fire Service Levy
    $ 445.90

    GST Amount
    $ 144.12

    Stamp Duty
    $ 158.53

    Total Premium
    $ 1,743.85
    regards,
    Steve

  36. Rabz

    Barry seems to be more interested in irritating his own voters.

    Yes – I certainly won’t be voting liberal again, that’s for sure.

    In addition to this increased impost, I recently had to have a water pressure test conducted on my Sydney property, which of course came with a cost. When I queried this impost with the managing agents, they informed me that there had been an 18 month grace period (now expired) and that the inspection requirement had been introduced by the previous laybore morons.

    Why didn’t the fucking braindead liberals get rid of the need to conduct these inspections? As Lizzie noted above, these additional imposts will now be passed on to my tenants.

    Incredibly, those corrupt laybore cretins also introduced inspections for window blind cords (I kid you not) with a requirement that cords had to be kept out of the reach of kiddies (it’s always for teh kiddies™). More inexcusable meddling with private property rights.

    The news that O’Barrell is going to extend the reach of the anti free speech statutes was the final straw.

    They are going to be hearing from me in no uncertain terms about these examples of inexcusable leftist imbecility.

    I voted for the liberals on the basis that they were going to roll back this stupidity, not retain and extend it.

  37. Kelly, ignoring these laws does no good. In the ignorance stakes this government is well ahead of us. (Hohoho)
    I’m currently reading ‘Hitler’ by Ian Kershaw. I can draw some fascinating and disturbing parallels between the early life of Hitler and Gillard in terms of the emotional stunting that became apparent in their thirties.
    Both were hollow people.
    But I wouldn’t want to derail the fred. So I’ll leave it at that.

  38. Incredibly, those corrupt laybore cretins also introduced inspections for window blind cords

    LOL

  39. Steve, why would you bother trying to run a business profitably with these taxes, and the plethora of others that accompany it?
    You would have to think of burning the place down for the insurance money.
    Has the rate of insurance payouts for fire destruction of a business risen lately?

  40. Stan

    Firstly the 60% figure quoted is for people with contents insurance. In fact in NSW 95% of home owners have building insurance. It is very hard to get a home loan without this insurance. If you have building insurance then you are paying the fire levy in this. This levy pays for both professional and volunteer brigades plus the state emergency service. Insurance companies started the first paid fire brigades because they know how much money a fast response by a brigade saves them due to fire spread etc.

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