NSW Government’s Fire and Emergency Service Levy

The Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) will be introduced on the 1 July 2017 by the NSW Government to fund the operating costs of the fire and emergency services provided by Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service.

The FESL will be included on your next rate notice which you will receive in July 2017. The FESL will be included as a separate, easily identifiable item on the rate notice and will be paid the same way as you pay your rates, with the option of paying annually or quarterly. The NSW Government has instructed Council to collect the FESL on their behalf.

The new FESL will replace the existing Emergency Service Levy (ESL) which is currently paid on insurance policies.

The FESL is calculated by the NSW Government.

The first step they use in their calculation is to determine whether your property is classified as residential, farmland, industrial, commercial, vacant or public benefit.

Based on your property’s classification the FESL is calculated in two parts –

  • Fixed charge
  • A variable charge – this is calculated on your properties ‘unimproved land value’ that is determined by the NSW Valuer General.

Council will notify all landowners of their property classification during April 2017 in conjunction with their instalment notice or by a standalone notice. Discounts will be available for eligible pensioners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fire and Emergency Services Levy?

The Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) is a charge introduced by the NSW Government to fund the operating costs of the fire and emergency services provided by Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service

How do I make a complaint about the FESL?

You can call the hotline on 1300 78 78 72 or via email FESL.info@treasury.nsw.gov.au

For more information you can go onto the FESL website.

Is this a new levy?

The NSW Government has introduced the new FESL and abolished the existing Emergency Service Levy (ESL) from insurance premiums.

At the moment everybody receives assistance from the fire and emergency services but only those people who have property insurance pay for this service as an Emergency Service Levy through their insurance premiums.

Will I be charged twice by paying the FESL and the ESL on my insurance?

No. You won’t be paying the ESL on insurance policies after 30 June 2017. Any insurance policy that was started or renewed before 1 July 2017 includes the ESL to fund emergency services in the 2016-2017 financial year. The new FESL to be collected alongside your Council rates and charges will contribute to the funding of emergency services for 2017-2018 and into the future.

The Insurance Monitor has been set up to make sure insurers do the right thing when the levy is removed. Penalties up to $10 million apply to insurers who charge unreasonably high premiums or engage in false or misleading conduct. Learn more about the Insurance Monitor’s powers and how it’s protecting NSW consumers at http://www.eslinsurancemonitor.nsw.gov.au/

Does Council already provide funding to the RFS, SES or Fire NSW?

Yes Council contributes over $1 million to the NSW Government to fund these services.

When will the levy be introduced?

The FESL will be introduced on the 1 July 2017.

The FESL will be shown on your Council Rates notice.

From 1 July 2017 the FESL will be collected by local councils from property owners. Councils will clearly list the FESL on the rates notice as a separate item. The FESL and it will be paid in the same way as council rates are paid, with the option of paying annually or quarterly.

Why has the NSW Government introduced the FESL?

The NSW Government has introduced the FESL to:

  • Make the system fairer so everyone (all property owners) contribute to the service not just people and businesses with insurance.
  • Make insurance more affordable. By removing the existing Emergency Service Levy the cost of insurance will be reduced and more people will be able to afford to protect their properties and businesses against fires, floods, storms and natural disasters.
  • Make NSW like other mainland states where this system exists. It was recommended in the Royal commission into the Victorian Bushfires.

How is the FESL calculated?

The FESL is calculated by the NSW Government.

The first step they used in their calculation is to determine whether your property is classified as:

  • Residential (non vacant)
  • Residential (vacant)
  • Farmland
  • Industrial (non vacant)
  • Industrial (vacant)
  • Commercial (non vacant)
  • Commercial (vacant)
  • Government
  • Public Benefit.

Most properties in the Hawkesbury are classified as residential.

Based on your property’s classification the FESL is calculated in two parts –

  • Fixed charge
  • A variable charge – this is calculated on your properties unimproved land value that is determined by the NSW Valuer General.

What if I disagree with the classification?

Persons liable to pay the FESL may request a review of their classification. Please complete a classification review form and return it to Council. Click here for classification review form.

What if I am a home owner how will the FESL affect me?

If you own your home (or a property you rent out) and insure the building and contents you will already be paying the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance premiums. You will no longer be required to pay the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance.

You will now pay the FESL to the NSW Government through your Rates.

What if my land is vacant how will the FESL affect me?

Vacant residential land will receive a discount. Owners or leasees will be required to make an application to Council for a sub classification as ‘vacant’.

What if I am a commercial property owner how will the FESL affect me?

If you own a retail, business or office property and insure the buildings or contents you will already be paying the Emergency Service Levy via your insurance premium. You will no longer be required to pay the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance.

You will now pay the FESL to the NSW Government through your Rates.

What if I am a tenant how will the FESL affect me?

If you rent your home or business and insure the contents you will already be paying the Emergency Service Levy via your insurance premium. You will no longer be required to pay the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance.

Most tenants do not receive a council rates notice and do not directly pay council rates. You will not be required to pay the FESL.

What if I am an industrial property owner how will the FESL affect me?

If you own industrial land and insure building, plant or contents you will already be paying the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance premium. You will no longer be required to pay the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance.

You will now pay the FESL to the NSW Government through your Rates.

What if I am a farmer how will the FESL affect me?

If you own farmland and insure buildings or contents you will already be paying the Emergency Service Levy via your insurance premiums. You will no longer be required to pay the Emergency Service Levy through your insurance.

You will now pay the FESL to the NSW Government through your Rates.

What if I fit into the ‘other’ category how will the FESL affect me?

If your land doesn’t fall into the category of residential, farmland, commercial or industrial it maybe either Government land or Public Benefit land.

Is Government land exempt from the FESL?

Unless subject to a lease for private purposes government land will be exempt from the FESL

Is there a default classification?

Commercial is the default classification. If land cannot be classified under one of the other property sectors it will be classified as commercial land.

Are there concessions available?

Ratepayers who are eligible for a Pensioner Rebate Concession will be entitled to an annual rebate concession of $50 on the FESL.

Can I calculate the FESL on my property?

The FESL calculator can be used to help you calculate your FESL. Click here to use the FESL calculator

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