Equitable approach needed in regards to the Fire and Emergency Services Levy

OPTIONS: NSW Farmers, Wagga and District Branch Chairman Alan Brown. Picture: Les Smith
OPTIONS: NSW Farmers, Wagga and District Branch Chairman Alan Brown. Picture: Les Smith

FARMERS are pushing for a more equitable approach to the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in NSW.

The recent fires in this region, and throughout the state, have highlighted how important it is to have well resourced emergency services.

NSW Farmers Wagga and District Branch chairman Alan Brown said every other state in Australia had taken up a property based funding system.

He said this was indicative of what NSW should do and he encouraged this state to go down that path.

Mr Brown, who is also Group Captain, Riverina Zone of the Rural Fire Service said fighting fires was a dangerous business.

He said it was important that volunteers were looked after and safe. This meant there had to be adequate funding.

NSW Farmers has welcomed the Review of Federal Financial Relations and the organisation's president James Jackson said it was time to deliver the best outcomes.

"The review recommendations identify an opportunity to phase out payroll tax and transfer duties, along with the removal of tax on insurance. These are discussions we need to have." Mr Jackson says.

He also mentioned the Fire and Emergency Service Levy, which he said currently placed an inequitable burden on the agricultural sector.

"There are, however, real concerns regarding the proposal to introduce a broad-based land tax if transfer tax is removed. This is of significant concern to us, and such a tax must not be introduced without very careful and deep analysis of the impact on farm businesses," he said.

"The review also recommends the development of a fair income tax sharing model between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.

Mr Jackson says NSW Farmers supports a tax sharing model, as it will potentially lead to more efficient funding for essential infrastructure, particularly for road maintenance and repair.

"There will no doubt be challenges to progress these reforms from both tax payers and governments alike." Mr Jackson says.

"For our members in NSW, the existing taxation structures are often a greater burden on the producer of goods and services rather than the consumer. This is a constraint on prosperity that needs to be removed."