Fire and Emergency Services Act Reform Frequently asked questions.

Currently the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) is mostly funded by an Insurance Fire Levy, Motor Vehicle Fire Levy and Fire Service Contribution (paid through your council rates).

The new funding model for fire and emergency services abolishes the Insurance Fire Levy; simplifies the property-based levy (known as the Fire Service Contribution on your council rates notice); and extends the existing motor vehicle levy to motorcycles.

The fire and emergency services funding includes the community’s financial contribution through the levies paid by businesses, property and vehicle owners, the Tasmanian Government’s funding, Australian Government’s funding, and the sale of goods and services by the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service (TFES).

This reform will ensure our fire and emergency services are funded appropriately, now and into the future, so they can continue to protect us.

A Specific Purpose Account will be established under the Financial Management Act 2016, to hold the funds collected for the fire and emergency services. The Financial Management Act provides a strong financial management framework that ensures funds can only be spent on what the Treasurer approves and in-line with what the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service Bill allows the funds to be spent on.

Tasmanians are at risk from a wide variety of emergencies such as fire, flood, storms and other emergencies. Our fire and emergency services ensure our safety and security by preparing for, responding to, and transitioning to recovery from emergencies. The new funding model sustainably supports what they do to keep us safe, including the services and activities that support them.

This additional wording ensures the legislation can remain contemporary and adaptable to enable the funding of other emergency management activities and services, such as those that support our fire and emergency service in preparing for, responding to, and transitioning to recovery after emergencies. This includes communications services, technology and engineering, and fleet services.

The word ‘prescribed’ ensures the details of what other emergency management related activities or services that funds are being spent on are written in the regulations. Regulations are required by law to be tabled in parliament and must be approved by the subordinate legislation committee.

In simple terms, the new fire and emergency service property levy will be calculated using a property’s Assessed Annual Value (AAV) and the relevant land classification rate.

Land classifications are based on land usage, this model ensures that all property owners contribute to fire and emergency services equitably based on property types. It also better reflects the mobility of the fire and emergency services rather than continue with the existing brigade classification system.

The calculation:

Your levy = your AAV x your land classification rate – your concession*

*if you are eligible for a concession

The title of this levy will be the Fire and Emergency Service Levy, this replaces the Fire Contribution Levy on your Council rates notice.

The land classification rates for the fire and emergency service levy will be calculated annually based on the expenditure requirements of the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service. These rates are expected to be finalised for 2024-25 before the new legislation comes into effect.

There will be no change to who is eligible for a concession. The Tasmanian Government is proposing to increase the level of the concession from 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the fire and emergency service levy and the motor vehicle fire levy.

When land classification rates are finalised, a link to the rates will be published on the TFS Reform web page.

Under the existing arrangement, the cost of the fire service contribution varies significantly depending on the location of a property in brigade rating districts (permanent, composite or volunteer). Currently, property owners within permanent brigade areas pay a higher fire service contribution than those located in a volunteer brigade area.

Yet, our emergency services respond to everyone in our community equally and without hesitation.

Under the new funding model, all property owners will contribute to funding fire and emergency services on an equitable basis. Moving away from brigade classifications better reflects the mobility of the fire and emergency service. This may mean that some property owners will pay more to ensure that all property owners contribute equitably.

A comprehensive Change Management Plan has been developed to ensure clear and regular communication about key milestones and to provide opportunities for input into the implementation of these changes.

A dedicated Integration Project Team has also been established within the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management (DPFEM) to lead this important work.

Yes, the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service will continue to be part of the DPFEM. Prior to 2006, the TFS was part of the Department of Health.

The Chief Fire Officer currently has multiple reporting lines, including to the State Fire Commission, the Secretary of the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management and the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management.

This reform will give the Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Service greater authority and autonomy to lead Tasmania’s emergency services. The new Commissioner will report directly to the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and be empowered and responsible for overseeing the workforce and the budget for the Tasmania Fire and Emergency Service.