The process of reforming the State’s revenue sources for fire and emergency services offers the opportunity for meaningful tax reform, according to the Property Council of Australia.
Release of a Discussion Paper by the NSW Government today signals a shift away from the traditional reliance on an insurance-based levy.
“The property sector recognises the inefficiency of taxing a pool of contributors that is limited by the amount of people electing to take out insurance,” NSW Executive Director, Glenn Byres, said today.
“The natural response lies in a new scheme that is truly broad-based, apportioned according to risk and lowers costs for existing contributors.
“Large commercial asset owners – including office, retail and industrial property – invest heavily in fire mitigation and suppression systems.
“This needs to be recognised in attributing costs in any new system and all users of fire and emergency services need to contribute.
“We hope good tax design principles inform the debate and ultimate policy solution.”
The Property Council of Australia recommends a model that is built around a key set of principles, including:
All property that use fire and emergency services should be captured, including all ‘fixed’ property as well as passenger and heavy vehicles;
Costs should be apportioned according to risk (or historical incident rates);
Current contributions must not increase in real terms;
Like land tax and council rates, unimproved values underpin any levy;
The total tax take should only ever rise by CPI and not be fuelled by windfall gains due to land valuation rises.
“The prospect of meaningful tax reform is encouraging and we hope it signals a broader appetite for more efficient taxation in NSW,” Mr Byres said.
Media contact: Glenn Byres, NSW Executive Director, 0419 695 435.