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Fire Service 18% levy increase won't ease pressure

Lindsay Tisch National Internal Affairs Spokesperson

11 December 2000

18% levy increase won't ease pressure on Fire Service

The 18% increase in the fire service levy will not reduce the Fire Service debt or settle the union's pay claims, National Internal Affairs spokesperson Lindsay Tisch said today.

The increase requires property owners to raise the fire service component of their insurance policies from 6.2 cents per $100 of insured value to 7.3 cents from March 2001 in an effort to inject capital into the Fire Service coffers.

"The union is demanding a pay increase of up to 30 percent but there is a $35 million shortfall in the Fire Service's operating budget - and this increase won't make a dent in it.

"Predominantly the funding shortfall is due to the union's insistence of placing four fire fighters on appliances instead of the recommended three.

"It's ridiculous that the Fire Service is still not able to utilise the 42 hours paid time per week that the Union conceded in the Court last October. That's 1.5 million hours of paid time, conservatively valued at $30 million, that the Fire Service is unable to use because the Union won't allow it, even though it conceded it in Court.

"The fire service levy increase is a direct result of Government mismanagement and union demands. Unfortunately, it is businesses and homeowners that will pay the price," Mr Tisch said.

Ends

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