Expert Panel Meets To Reform Emergency Services Funding


A newly formed Stakeholder Reference Group held its first meeting today to advise the government on reforming the way emergency services are funded.

Chaired by Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, the expert panel discussed a broad range of perspectives on a new model to replace the existing Emergency Services Levy (ESL) which is paid through insurance premiums.

The Reference Group is made up of leaders from the insurance and property industries, business and council representatives and emergency service experts.

Today’s meeting follows the Treasurer’s initial rounds of stakeholder consultation.

Emergency services in NSW – including Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service – are funded by the ESL.

NSW remains the only mainland state to fund its emergency services by taxing insurance.

This has led to NSW having the highest average insurance premiums in any state apart from cyclone-prone Queensland. The ESL has pushed premiums up by around 18 per cent for residential properties in NSW and 34 per cent for commercial properties across the state.

And it’s resulted in more people choosing not to be insured. In NSW 35 per cent of households do not have contents insurance and 5 per cent of homeowners go without building insurance.

People who do not insure their property do not pay the ESL and make no direct contribution to funding emergency services.

With natural disasters becoming more frequent and unpredictable, the need for emergency prevention and response is growing. Having a sustainable, broad and fair funding system is vital to ensuring the best emergency services to protect everyone.

The Stakeholder Reference Group will provide ongoing advice to the NSW Government.

Public input will also be sought through the release of a consultation paper in the coming weeks.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:

“I’d like to thank every member of the Reference Group for sharing their insights, expertise and ideas in our first meeting. I look forward to their continued advice as we reform the way emergency services are funded in NSW.

“Broad consultation across the sector and wider community is crucial to ensure we have a funding system that’s fair and sustainable for everyone.

“The NSW Government is determined to get this right and deliver lasting reform that will fund our emergency services and remove the burden of this levy from insurance bills.”

/Public Release. View in full here.