THE state government will plough $53 million into the implementation of the new fire services property levy.
Starting on July 1, the new system will move from being insurance-based to property-based and will be collected via council rates, including in Ballarat.
It will be used to help fund the Country Fire Authority and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, with separate levies charged in rural and metropolitan areas.
The levy will be calculated from a variable component based on a property’s capital improved value plus a fixed component of $100 for residential properties and $200 for non-residential houses.
Previously, the fire services were funded by insurance industry contributions and the state government, with the costs passed onto Victorian policy holders through insurance premium levies.
Treasurer Kim Wells said the $53 million would help bring council collection systems up to date and protect consumers during the transition.
“We have been working with the Municipal Association of Victoria on the implementation of the new levy and we have started work on a centrally managed IT project to ensure councils can implement the necessary system changes effectively and on time,” Mr Wells said.
“We have abolished GST and stamp duty costs through the new levy arrangements to provide a saving of more than $100 million per year to households and businesses across the state.
“For the first time, pensioners and veterans will also receive a $50 concession on their contribution.”
A Ballarat City Council spokesperson said it had been working closely with the state government on the new levy but would await the final proposal before commenting further.
Professor Allan Fels has been appointed the fire services levy monitor.