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25 May 2013
Victorian Premier John Brumby has committed only to “further consultation” on a 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommendation to abolish the fire services levy.
Late today the State Government released its interim response to the royal commission’s final report, giving “in-principle support” to 59 of the 67 recommendations.
But Mr Brumby has confined the Government only to “further consultation” on some of the more contentious issues, including recommendation 64, which calls for the insurance-based levy to be replaced with a property-based charge and the introduction of concessions for low-income earners.
He is expected to do little or nothing on the issue before his government’s current review of the fire services funding system in Victoria is finalised in February.
That review was branded as a “smokescreen” at the weekend by Allianz Australia MD Terry Towell, who also called the Government’s continued refusal to consider real reform of the levy as “a failure of policy leadership”.
Mr Brumby told reporters today he won’t be drawn into a political debate with the state Opposition after Victorian Liberals leader Ted Baillieu pledged to support all 67 recommendations.
The Premier says the Government will conduct a short-term, targeted consultation with key agencies, communities and interested stakeholders before providing a full response to the royal commission’s recommendations “within coming weeks”.
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