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Monday, 21 October 2013

DAMIAN DRUM AND WENDY LOVELL OPPOSE FAIRER FIRE SERVICES LEVY

The National Party Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum, and the Liberal Member Wendy Lovell voted in Parliament last week against legislation to improve the flawed and inequitable Fires Services Property Levy (FSPL), Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards said today.

Labor introduced a Private Members Bill in the Upper House that would give powers to the Fire Services Levy Monitor to ensure the new system had greater oversight and did not leave Victorians worse off.

“Yesterday the Liberal National minority Government voted against reforms that home owners and small and large businesses have been calling for,” Ms Edwards said.

“Instead of listening to the concerns of Victorians who are facing significantly increased costs, the National party government member, Damian Drum and Wendy Lovell both voted to keep the unfair status quo.”

Labor’s reforms would have given powers to the Fire Services Levy Monitor to investigate and report on the operation of the FSPL and to make recommendations for improvements.

“Since the Napthine minority Government’s changes came into effect in July this year, I have received many complaints from a range of rate payers including pensioners, small business owners, charities and employers,” Ms Edwards said.

“Contrary to the Government’s advertising, the new levy is not simpler or fairer for these people.”

“The fact is many people are worse off because the new scheme is so badly targeted, but Coalition MPs are refusing to acknowledge the problem.

“Documents obtained by the Opposition under Freedom of Information show hundreds of pages of complaints to the State Revenue Office about the unfairness of the new levy,” Ms Edwards said.

“The Government have not been listening when Victorians told them that the new levy wasn’t fair.’

“It was disappointing that the Government would not take the opportunity to ensure the fair operation of this new tax for all Victorian residents.

“There are people in the Castlemaine and Maldon region, who were paying their fair share under the previous scheme but are now being slugged hundreds of dollars extra under the Napthine minority Government’s unfair levy.”

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