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.