Emergency Services Levy
What is the ESL?
The Emergency Services Levy is a new way of funding the career and volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, Bush Fire Brigades, SES units and FESA units throughout the state. It began on 1 July 2003 and fully replaces the old funding arrangements.
Why has the system changed?
The system was changed for two main reasons:
Not everyone was contributing
75% of funding for the Career Fire and Rescue Service was collected through levies on building and contents insurance in areas that receive this service. Yet it is estimated that one in three houses in Perth is uninsured or under-insured, and many large businesses self-insure or are insured offshore with non-contributing insurance companies. These people haven't been paying their fair share.
Also, vacant landowners don't contribute through the insurance system but in Perth and the regional cities, 30% of all fire call outs are to fires on vacant land.
Not all volunteer brigades and units got the support they needed
Bush Fire Brigade and State Emergency Service volunteers used to be funded by their Local Government and local community, but some simply couldn't afford to provide the funds or equipment needed.
Some volunteers were even forced to buy their own protective gear.
Under the new system, funding for operating costs and capital equipment will come from the ESL. Equipment will be distributed according to need, not who can afford to pay for it.