A controversial new levy that would have added hundreds of dollars to some Eurobodalla property owners’ annual rates bills has been indefinitely deferred by the NSW Government.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday that the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), which was to be collected through council rates and based on land value, would be put on hold pending a government review.
The levy was due to begin from July 1 and was due to replace the previous system, which was a tax on insurance policies.
It was touted by the government as a fairer system that would save the average fully insured property owner about $47 a year once the levy was removed from their insurance premium.
However, Ms Berejiklian said it “had become clear that some fully insured businesses were facing unintended consequences”.
“While the new system produces fairer outcomes in the majority of cases, some people – particularly in the commercial and industrial sectors – are worse off by too much under the current model, and that is not what we intended,” she said.
The levy will continue to be collected by insurance providers until the government completes a “review”.
This government knows it will be annihilated right across NSW if they continue to push through this unfair tax.- Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park
There has been no timeline set, and Ms Berejiklian said the deferral would last “until we get a fairer system”.
Shadow Treasurer and Keira MP Ryan Park said the announcement showed the government was a "shambles" and "running scared".
"Let's be really clear about why this announcement has happened today,” he said.
“The upcoming council elections mean that this government knows it will be annihilated right across NSW if they continue to push through this unfair tax.”
But the peak group Local Government NSW it was a chance to get things right.
“Councils have already done a lot of work to comply with the Government’s FESL legislation, and there will now be a need to undo this work – not to mention the associated costs,” president Keith Rhoades said.
“While this is regrettable, the chance to get the levy right should be our focus.”
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