The following Question without Notice was asked in Parliament today by the Hon Colin de Grussa and answered by the Hon Stephen Dawson as the Minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services
Hon COLIN de GRUSSA to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
I refer to comments made by the minister to Esperance volunteer emergency services personnel on 23 August 2017 relating to the emergency services levy.
(1) Does the government have plans to increase the emergency services levy collected from Western Australian property owners?
(2) If yes to (1), will this increase be applied evenly across metropolitan and regional property owners?
(3) Does the minister think it is fair that of the more than $320 million collected through the ESL, less than 10 per cent goes back to regional volunteer emergency services organisations?
(4) Is the government going to respond to recommendations by the Economic Regulation Authority in the “Review of the Emergency Services Levy: Final Report”?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. I am advised the following.
(1) The rate and total amount of the emergency services levy is subject to the normal budgetary processes and approval of cabinet. The ESL rate is published on an annual basis in the Government Gazette, while the total amount of ESL raised is published in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services portion of the Budget Statements.
(2) Not applicable.
(3) The 10 per cent quoted appears to solely reference the grant funding provided to local governments for the operation of bush fire brigades and State Emergency Service units. This is a small proportion of the funding support provided through the ESL in areas in which regional volunteer emergency services organisations operate. DFES provides emergency services groups, including the volunteer fire and rescue service, volunteer fire and emergency service, volunteer marine rescue service, State Emergency Service and bush fire brigades with direct and indirect funding support to deliver their services, and this is principally funded by the ESL. Direct support comes in the form of the provision of property, plant and equipment, and operating funding for the day-to-day running of brigades and units. Indirect support comes in the form of frontline operational and technical services, such as the provision of a state computer-aided dispatch system, aerial firefighting capability, communication and information technology, and regional operation centres, as well as training and administrative support.
(4) The state government will carefully consider the recommendations contained in the Economic Regulation Authority’s review into the emergency services levy in the context of broader government objectives.