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Getting ready for the Fire Services Levy
05 April 2013
Yarra Council is urging ratepayers to become familiar with their existing insurance premiums ahead of the State Government’s Fire Services Levy appearing on their 2013/14 Council rates notices later this year.
The State Government has directed Victorian Councils to collect the levy from all rateable properties from 1 July 2013.
The levy, which contributes to the cost of operating the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA), is currently paid in part by insurance companies which in turn, pass the cost on to policyholders through their insurance premiums.
Under the new system, all property owners, even those who are uninsured, will pay the levy when they pay their Council rates.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky said she wanted to reassure ratepayers that the levy was not a charge for Council services.
"Council is obliged by the State Government to collect this levy through Council’s rate collection system and pass the amounts collected from ratepayers on to the State. We have no choice in this”, Cr Fristacky said.
The Mayor urged all ratepayers to double-check with their insurance companies that they are not charged the Fire Services Levy through their insurance premiums after 1 July 2013.
“Initially ratepayers may be confused to find this charge on their rate notices but, in effect, it is supposed to replace the levy they are currently paying in their insurance premiums,” she said.
“Any insurance policy with a start or renewal date on or after 1 July 2013 should not include a fire services levy.”
Ratepayers who believe their insurance company is charging a fire services levy for policies starting or renewed after this date, are urged to contact the State Government’s special Fire Services Levy Monitor on 1300 300 635 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Insurers that flout the law could face penalties of up to $10 million in fines.
How much will appear on my rates notice?
The actual amount of the new fire services levy per ratepayer will not be known until the State Government delivers its 2013/14 budget in May.
Council understands it will comprise:
- A fixed component of $100 for residential properties and $200 for non-residential properties; plus
- A variable component based on a percentage of the capital improved value (CIV) of the property (the State Government will advise Councils in May what this CIV percentage will be).
A concession will be available to some Department of Veterans Affairs gold card holders and Pensioner Concession Card holders on their principal place of residence.
For more information about the Fire Services Levy and how it will affect you, please call the State’s Fire Services Levy Monitor on 1300 300 635 or visit firelevymonitor.vic.gov.au
Council has also prepared a page to provide further background on the Fire Services Levy. Click here to visit it.
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