NSW is set to eliminate the Emergency Services Levy (ESL)

NSW Premier, Chris Minns, is set to eliminate the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on New South Wales property insurance, in an effort to create a fairer system for policyholders.

“Reforming the Emergency Services levy is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do,” Premier Chris Minns said this morning. “For too long this has been in the too hard basket for NSW. But as we face the threat of more natural disasters, we have a significant opportunity to make the system fairer, more sustainable for the future.”

NSW is the only mainland state that uses a levy on insurance to fund emergency services, and under the existing model insurance policyholders shoulder 73.7% of the burden, local councils contribute 11.7% and the state government 14.6%.

In addressing the proposed reforms, Renee Butcher, Chief Operating Officer at CRM Brokers commented, “The Emergency Services Levy has a significant impact on the cost of strata insurance in NSW. While the Government’s previous attempt fell short at the last minute, we hope that the consultations with industry and stakeholders will result in a beneficial reform and savings for policyholders.”

Back in July 2017, NSW property owners were set to be charged a new Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) based on land value determined by the Valuer General, replacing the previous tax on insurance policies. The proposed reforms aim to be revenue neutral and will not be the same as a model previously proposed.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) and Insurance Council of Australia, has welcomed the decision.

The NSW Budget estimated that insurance customers will pay $1.3 billion through the ESL this year and, would pay more than $5.1 billion over the forward estimates without reform.


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