Doubts over Labor's big fire services levy increase
05 June 2015
Home owners, farmers and businesses will be slugged with large increases to the Fire Services Property Levy (FSPL) from July 1.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the Andrews Labor Government had outlined a 7.2 per cent increase to the FSPL in its recent State Budget.
"Labor has serious questions to answer about why it is imposing this major increase on families across the Euroa electorate," Ms Ryan said.
"There are concerns that Daniel Andrews is using these increases, which will raise an extra $42.1 million, to pay for demands from United Firefighters Union."
Ms Ryan said the union had presented a log of claims to the CFA estimated to cost more than $1.5 billion, including demands that firefighters be given a 30 per cent pay rise, that any firefighter working more than 20 minutes’ overtime be paid for a full day, that firefighters be exempt from paying the Fire Services Levy and be able to use public transport for free.
The log of claims come after UFU representatives doorknocked and manned polling booths for Daniel Andrews during last year's election campaign.
"Few people object to paying the fire services property levy to ensure our hard working CFA volunteers are properly resourced," Ms Ryan said.
"But it seems that the government is slugging property owners to pay off a political debt," Ms Ryan said.
“The Labor Government’s proposed 7.2 per cent increase in collections from the levy is a massive increase compared to the average inflation rate over the past 12 months which was only 1.8 per cent.
“Landowners will be slugged at four times the rate of inflation."
Ms Ryan said it was hypocritical of the Andrews Labor Government to impose huge increases on property owners through the FSPL while at the same time demanding local councils cap rates at CPI or less.
“Before last year's election, Daniel Andrews and Labor promised there would be no increases in taxes and charges,” Ms Ryan said.
“Imposing a big increase to the FSPL on families and businesses across the Euroa electorate is another broken promise by Labor
"It will hurt struggling household budgets and make it harder for businesses across our region in what continue to be challenging economic times.”
Ms Ryan said the previous Coalition Government introduced a fair and more equitable FSPL system by scrapping the unequitable insurance-based levy.
This ensured all Victorian property owners paid a fair and reasonable contribution to fund our fire services.