BUSINESSES will pay less, on average, under changes to the Fire Services Property Levy, according to Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien.
Mr O’Brien met businesses owners in Bendigo yesterday to discuss reforms to the levy system.
He said it was largely good news for businesses that had previously paid a higher rate through their insurance premiums.
“For businesses that have been doing the right thing and paying insurance in the past, they will see reduced payments, through a fairer system,” he said.
Bendigo Truss Plant owner Geoff Holland said his business was expecting to save more than $10,000 under the new model.
Mr Holland said his Fire Services Levy had been high in previous years because he was fully insured, and was paying a loading based
on being in a higher-risk regional area.
“In 2012 it was close to $16,000 and this year we’re expecting to pay $4,500 to $5000,” he said.
“It’s a welcome change to have that reduction.”
Mr O’Brien said residential levy payments would also decrease, on average.
He said ratepayers in the City of Greater Bendigo would this year pay $93 less than the average levy contribution last year.
The state government has come under criticism from investment property owners whose levy payments will be changed to a more expensive “commercial” rate.
Mr O’Brien announced yesterday that rental properties owned by community housing organisations would avoid that price hike. But he said the re-classification would remain for people who owned residential investment flats.
The new levies will be collected through the City of Greater Bendigo 2013-2014 rates notices that were sent out on August 16.
Mr O’Brien said the levy was forecast to raise $611 million.