Emergency services are critical to protecting and preserving the lives, livelihoods and properties of Western Australians. Delivering and funding emergency services in a state as large and diverse as Western Australia is a complex and difficult task. The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) funds many of these services. The levy began in July 2003 to ensure a fair and adequate funding system. It replaced a mix of insurance levies, state and local government rates, and volunteer fundraising. It is now the responsibility of all land owners.
The Treasurer asked the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) to review arrangements for managing and distributing ESL funds to emergency services in the State. The review was in response to findings from Mr Euan Ferguson’s Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire. The State Government asked the ERA to look at options to improve the allocation of ESL funds. The ERA was also asked to review to what extent the ESL should be available to fund a Rural Fire Service, and what effect that would have on how much people pay for emergency services.
In forming recommendations for this review, the ERA held public and private meetings with stakeholders and received 40 submissions from interested parties from all around the State. This draft report will be the basis for further consultation.
The ERA is now providing another opportunity for interested parties to make a submission, in response to this draft report. Submissions should be made online by 4:00pm (WST) on 11 August 2017, preferably in electronic form.