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NIBA floats fire levy bump for ‘extreme risk’ properties

The National Insurance Brokers Association has suggested high-risk commercial and industrial properties pay more under NSW’s emergency services funding revamp that will remove the levy on insurance.

In responses to a consultation, the association notes the Victorian fire services property levy applies different rates to classes such as residential, commercial, primary production, public benefit and non-residential vacant land.

“In NIBA’s view, this model is the most equitable way to distribute the financial burden of funding the state fire and emergency services,” it says.

“The government should also consider whether it is appropriate to levy an additional charge on extremely high-risk commercial and industrial properties, such as those that use or store hazardous materials, in recognition of the risk they pose.”

NIBA opposes aligning the levy more closely with the cost of providing services based on regional and metropolitan areas.

“Fire and emergency services often attend events out of their respective areas, especially when a large-scale event occurs. Considering this, NIBA does not support differentiating the levy by geographic region.”

NSW announced plans to remove the emergency services levy from insurance and replace it with a property-based levy last November. Submissions on the consultation paper were due yesterday.

NIBA says property-based levies should be collected by Revenue NSW rather than local governments, which would probably lead to lower ongoing costs after a higher upfront expense, and would remove confusion between the levy and council rates.

It notes that all states using a property-based fire and emergency services levy provide a discount to pensioner concession card holders.