Answers needed on fire services levy

The fire services levy on Victorian home and property owners will start on July 1, 2013.

In August 2012 the member for Northern Victoria, Damian Drum, had an article on this levy published in local newspapers. 

I rang and wrote to Mr Drum about the levy, and received three pages of a press release that the state government had put on their website. 

My understanding from the press release is that residential property owners will pay $100 minimum and commercial property owners 

$200 minimum. 

On top of these amounts a formula based on capital improved value of the property will then be added. This formula is to come from the state government before the budget is released.  

Given this formula will be from the government, one can assume it will only go up and up each year, as taxes rarely fall. 

As there was nothing in the press release about contents insurance, in a second letter to Mr Drum I asked him whether people who rent and only pay contents insurance  would pay this new levy. 

I then asked if the 

$50 concession for pensioners and veterans was a one-off, or if it would continue forever? Again, the press release did not say. 

Also, there will be community consultation on the fire services levy but I have not heard when this will take place in the Bendigo area. 

I asked Mr Drum in my letter to him on August 24, the above questions but to date have had no response. 

In writing this letter to the editor, maybe another Liberal/National Party MP can answer my questions? About the contents insurance; whether the $50 pensioners’/veterans’ concession is ongoing or not; and when the so-called community consultation will take place in the Bendigo area? 

I do support this fire services levy as all property owners will have to pay and hopefully it will result in a fairer system and cost. 

Given this levy is to go towards the Metropolitan Fire Brigades and CFA, I sincerely hope this current state government does not increase the levy too high so they put less into the MFB and CFA and make property owners fund the full cost of the fire brigades.  

Ian Bates,

North Bendigo

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