Liberals pledge Emergency Services Levy cut

The state Liberal party is pledging to cut Emergency Services Levy (ESL) bills by $90 million a year for four years if elected at the March state election.

Overall, income from the levy would be cut by $360 million under a Marshall Liberal state government.

According to a Liberal Party policy document, savings for an owner of a home valued at $450,000 were estimated to be worth $600 over four years.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said it was a big election promise but one that the Liberal Party was committed to.

“It’s a significant election commitment from the Liberals but it goes towards our efforts to reduce the cost of living for South Australians,” Mr Treloar said.

“It’s clear the impact on landowners, households and businesses has been significant from the rapid increases in recent years in the ESL.”

Mr Treloar said the levy had “punished” local landowners, including those who volunteered with the Country Fire Service or State Emergency Service.

“It seems the government is double dipping in many instances, many of the hardest (landowners) hit are ones who also volunteer for the CFS or SES,” he said.

The increases led to protests by CFS brigades including Greenpatch, Kapinnie, Yallunda Flat and Edillilie, which no longer fight fires on government land.

Greenpatch brigade captain and landowner Mark Modra said if the Liberal Party was committed to this plan then it would have his support.

CFS Western Eyre Group officer Mark Hewitson said brigades in the region had not experienced any issues with the levy.

“We haven’t had any problems up here with the Emergency Services Levy,” he said.

“It has done well for the emergency services groups in the area and local people are fine with it.”

Mr Modra said if the levy reverted back to what it was before the increases, the Greenpatch brigade would start fighting fires on government land again, which was what it wanted to do.