Ratepayers in Orange could soon be hit with a new charge on their rates notice.
The NSW government is currently proposing to abolish the Emergency Services Levy, which is paid by those with insurance policies, and replace it with the Emergency Services Property Levy (ESPL).
If the proposal proceeds, the ESPL would be paid by all property owners, collected by council alongside rates, and calculated based on land valuations.
The levy helps fund Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service.
According to the NSW government the new levy was a “fairer model” for funding fire and emergency services as the burden would no longer fall only on those who had property insurance.
An operating procedures manual on the levy for local government said “the reform will also reduce the cost of insurance and encourage more people to insure their properties”.
“The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated 36 per cent of NSW households do not have contents insurance, compared with an average of 25 per cent for other states where the insurance levy has been abolished,” the manual said.
“Abolishing the ESL will help reduce NSW’s high rates of under-insurance and reduce the number of households and businesses that are exposed to financial ruin when fire or other emergencies occur.”
The new levy is proposed to be introduced from July 1 if the Emergency Service Levy Bill 2016 is passed.
Orange City Council will be required to notify land owners of their classification – which the ESPL is based on – by April 30.
It’s currently proposed that the Bill will be introduced in the first quarter of 2017.