NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today welcomed moves to introduce a fairer system of funding fire and emergency services that will also help reduce the high levels of underinsurance across the State.
Mr Marshall said that from July 2017, the government would abolish the existing Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on insurance policies and replace it with an Emergency Services Property Levy (ESPL), paid alongside Council rates.
“The reform will mean the burden of funding these services will no longer fall only on those with property insurance but all landowners,” Mr Marshall said.
“Under the current funding model, NSW property owners who insure their properties are subsidising households who don’t purchase contents or building insurance.
“Fire does not discriminate and the community rightly expects that firefighting and SES services will be available to everyone in their time of need.
Mr Marshall said that it was fair to expect all property owners to pay their share for these vital services.
“The majority of insured residential property owners will be better off under the ESPL, with the average insured property owner saving $40 per year,” he said.
“Modelling suggests property insurance premiums will fall by around $200 on average every year under the change while the average cost of the ESPL will be around $160.
“This fairer model for funding fire and emergency services will reduce the cost of insurance and encourage more people to insure their properties.”
Mr Marshall said that the local government sector had been arguing for a broad-based property levy to be introduced in NSW for many years.
Professor Allan Fels AO will be appointed as the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor to ensure that insurers pass on the cost savings to consumers.
Professor Fels will have powers to seek pecuniary penalties from Insurance Companies of up to $10 million for unreasonable prices from today through to 31 December 2018. Professor David Cousins AM will also be appointed as Deputy Monitor.