Question on Metropolitan Fire Service Levy – Charge out Fees despite paying Fire Service Levy
I was wondering if you could assist and advise whether you could review the attached and advise whether you have come across this before ? In particular the last paragraph.
My client let off some non toxic gas so there is no material damage or third party property damage or bodily injury.
Hopefully you may be able to shed some light on this.
Thanks in advance.
Grant” (full name provided)
I replied as follows:
Yes unfortunately, I see it quite regularly. On top of ridiculously high Fire Service Levies, the highest in the world, the legislation to which the MFB refer states that the FSL only covers the fighting of fires.
If it is a chemical clean-up they are permitted to charge.
To me the whole thing is a swindle. The fixed cost of the fire service such as the trucks, the base salary of the fire offices etc are already funded by the FSL, Local and State Government payments. Any charge for this is simply double dipping. We all should be used of government doing this as the FSL paid with the premium is also triple taxed with GST and State Government Stamp Duty being applied to the FSL.
This is the same government that just announced that they would be taking $471.5 million in dividends out of the Victorian WorkCover Authority over the next?four years.
Governments then wonder why business move interstate or worse still overseas! They usually just blame other governments and overseas factors and do not look in the mirror and realise the huge costs of doing business in this state with new taxes on the horizon.
The Victorian State Government chose not to charge those who were no insured during the Victorian Black Saturday bush fires but once this politically sensitive period passed it was back to normal, particularly businesses who they believe do not vote.
Depending on the cause of the spill and the type of policy in force and what was done by the MFB, there may be some cover afforded by your client’s insurance policy for removal of debris, fire service attendance and or loss
mitigation. Having said that, from the brief description you have provided there does not appear much hope.
You may wish to try the fixed v variable cost argument as the bulk of the costs are fixed with only small costs for splash suits, the refilling of the BA cylinder appearing on the face of it to be variable costs. Your client may also wish to speak to their state government member but if they live in a different electroate I doubt he/she will take much interest.
Sorry I do not have better news and you may appreciate why I fight so hard for the removal of the FSL and for fairness in this whole process.
It also shows the importance of good risk management practices to avoid this sort of event happening in the first place.