I am a farmer
If you own farmland and insure the buildings or contents you will already be paying the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) via your insurance premiums.
From July 1, 2017 the Government will abolish the current insurance-based Emergency Services Levy and replace it with the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) paid by property owners alongside council rates.
The FESL will be calculated according to two factors depending on the classification of property as residential, farmland, industrial, commercial, vacant or public benefit:
- A fixed charge; and
- A variable charge based on unimproved land value as determined by the NSW Valuer General (visit the 'How much will the FESL cost?' section in our FAQs for a definition of unimproved land value).
In the case of multiple land parcels owned by the same person and classified as farmland, these farms are treated as a single property for the purposes of FESL - just as they are for council rates.
The exact rates are still being determined and will not be published until 30 April 2017 when property values for July 2016 and the budget for the emergency services agencies for 2017-18 are known.
The reform will mean the obligation of funding NSW's fire and emergency services will no longer fall only on those with property insurance, but all property owners. It is estimated that the average fully-insured farm owner will save around $43 per year.
Land meets the requirements for classification as Farmland for purposes of the FESL if it is classified by a council as farmland for purposes of calculating your council rates.