Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Emergency Services Levy

has risen yet again. 
The state government is trotting out the tired excuse that the Federal Government "cuts" to health and education are the reason. It has used the same excuse to justify cuts to other services.
At the same time it has run an expensive "information" campaign telling us about this.
The reality is that there were no "cuts". There was actually an increase in funding. What happened was that the state did not get what the outgoing Federal government promised it would get - if it won the election. The state's treasurer was relying on that money. He shouldn't have done that. The election went to the other side.
The state was bankrupt before that. It is in a worse state now.
I will leave it at that.
The other question is, who should pay for the emergency services? It is not, as someone tried to suggest to me, a simple matter of  "user pays". You don't stop fighting a fire because it has reached the edge of the property or stop stacking sandbags half way down the street. If the tree falls next door but lands on your roof then you want some help don't you? And if your neighbour's fire sets off toxic fumes which bring on an asthma attack in your child as well as his then you want to be able to call an ambulance don't you?
So  yes, we pay an Emergency Services Levy. I don't object to the general idea of one. I do however object to the Treasurer lying about why it has been increased so much. 
It is of course politically expedient to lie about it. "Why not if I can get away with it" seems to be the order of the day. 
It costs money to prop up an unstable government. Our local MP is costing the government nearly $9m over four years. He's the fourteenth minister in a tiny state government. Yes, fourteenth. He has an electorate office - although he is only there about half a day a week. People don't use it very often. He has a fancy office in the CBD and the staff to match. He's not a member of the party in power but he will cost even more when he retires at the next election on his parliamentary pension at ministerial rate - something he is almost certain to do.
The money that one man is costing the government to do a job which could and should have been handled by others would be enough to negate the need for such a hefty rise. It is just a pity the next election is not until 2018. People will have forgotten by then - and you can be sure that they are not going to be reminded. 
There is no money in the bank. Reading the cat hairs tells me that the ESL is simply going to rise still further. 
I just hope we don't need to call on them because they are still underfunded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some of us won't forget the rises to the emergency levy ... too many farmers, members of the CFS and volunteer ambulance crew amongst family and friends. The farmers in particular are paying a huge increase in the levy, and use their own equipment to fight fires while the rest of their local brigade get the official truck out.

A side story ... One of the last fires my Dad attended on the truck was on a high fire danger day, and everyone was on tenderhooks. ... by the time the truck got to the fire just a few kilometres out of town the fire was out. Dad told me there were so many utes and angry farmers surrounding the fire it put itself out in sheer terror!