Homes, firms face fire levy

The Victorian National Party has put forward a proposal to the Fire Services Funding Review to place a property-based levy on all households and businesses. The levy would replace fire services funding currently paid via house and contents insurance.

Such a levy would force the 20 per cent of property owners who have no insurance, are underinsured or insure with foreign firms offshore to pay for the services. The result would be cheaper fire insurance for many householders and businesses. Currently, a $200,000 property owner pays about $600 annually for house and contents insurance with $200 going to fire services. Under the levy plan, the same owner would pay only $150 for fire services.

Pensioners and self-funded retirees would receive a discount on the levy, according to the Vic Nats' plan. The Nats say the whole community should pay for fire services, not just people with insurance. The submission also states that rural areas are “seriously disadvantaged” by the current fire services funding arrangements.