LIBERAL MPS ANDREW ELSBURY AND BERNIE FINN VOTE AGAINST FAIRER FIRE LEVY FOR WYNDHAM
Members for Western Metropolitan Region, Andrew Elsbury and Bernie Finn, yesterday voted against legislation to improve the flawed and inequitable Fires Services Property Levy (FSPL), Tim Pallas said today.
Labor introduced a Private Members Bill in the Upper House that would give powers to the Fire Services Levy Monitor to ensure the new system had greater oversight and did not leave Victorians worse off.
“Yesterday the Napthine Government voted against reforms that home owners and small and large businesses have been calling for,” said Mr Pallas.
“Instead of listening to the concerns of Victorians who are facing significantly increased costs, the Members for Western Metropolitan Region, Andrew Elsbury and Bernie Finn, voted to support the unfair FSPL intact, despite community complaints.”
“Labor‟s reforms would have given powers to the Fire Services Levy Monitor to investigate and report on the operation of the FSPL and to make recommendations for improvements,” said Mr. Pallas.
“Since the Napthine Government‟s changes came into effect in July this year, Labor MPs have received thousands of complaints from a range of rate payers including pensioners, charities and employers.”
“Contrary to the Government‟s advertising, the new levy is not simpler or fairer for these people.”
Mr Pallas said many people are worse off because the new scheme is so badly targeted, but Coalition MPs are refusing to acknowledge the problem.
“Documents obtained by the Opposition under Freedom of Information show hundreds of pages of complaints to the State Revenue Office about the unfairness of the new levy,” Mr Pallas said.
“As one aggrieved tax-payer wrote: „as crazy as it might seem, I was better off paying the tax on a tax on a tax‟.”
“The Government have not been listening when Victorians told them that the new levy wasn‟t fair.
“Even during the debate on the Bill yesterday, Philip Davis was insisting that collectively every household in Victoria is now better off”, ignoring the fact that there groups who are worse off”.
Mr Pallas said that it was disappointing that the Government would not take the opportunity to ensure the fair operation of this new tax for all Victorian residents.
“There are people across the Western Metropolitan Region, who were paying their fair share under the previous scheme but are now being slugged hundreds of dollars extra under the Napthine Government‟s unfair levy,” he said.
In the Western Metropolitan Region, which Mr Elsbury and Mr Finn represent, Labor MPs have been hearing from pensioners paying up to double on their previous contributions, even with the meagre $50 discount.
“I have had a local resident contact me because she is paying 450 per cent more for her residential investment units compared to last year, which she may have to pass on to her tenants,” Mr Pallas said.