Taxpayers have been forced to fork out more than $25 million dollars for the Berejiklian Government’s failed Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), since the reform was announced in December 2015 to the backflip on the decision in May this year.
Almost half of the money ($11.14 million) was spent on grants to councils to implement FESL including classifying all land in NSW. Treasury spent a chunk of funds ($7.76 million) on staff, advertising, consultants and other expenditure. While the Emergency Services Monitor was allocated $3.49 million to oversee the transition to the FESL.
FESL monitor Professor Allan Fels still has a job, although the levy appears to have been delayed indefinitely. Professor David Cousins remains appointed as a Deputy Monitor.
NSW Labor says the 11th hour decision by the Berejiklian Government to scrap the inequitable FESL levy shows complete disregard for taxpayers in this state and the utter shambles it was left in after back flipping on the unpopular tax.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park
“The Treasurer called it the ‘most significant reform of a generation’. It could also be the most significant waste of taxpayer funds.
“They had five years to get this right, before pulling the plug at the last minute. Now we know they wasted $25 million on the failed FESL. This is clearly a Government in chaos.
“How can the community trust a Government which stuffed the levy up- then put it on hold ‘indefinitely’ after squandering more than $25 million dollars? It just beggars belief.”