Prepare a report evaluating the current fire services funding arrangements and
alternative funding arrangements.
The report should
present recommendations on future funding arrangements that meet the current
and prospective needs of the fire services and would be as near as possible to
provide detailed information on how the recommended arrangements would apply to
facilitate their possible implementation in 2004-05; and
identify any administrative and compliance issues associated with the current
and recommended funding arrangements, including transitional issues and the
earliest practical commencement date for the proposed reforms.
In conducting the inquiry, the Committee should
consider the impact of current and proposed funding arrangements on decisions
by households and businesses to insure;
consider the funding approaches adopted in Queensland and South Australia and
soon to come into effect in Western Australia as well as the findings of the
Victorian review of fire service funding;
consider the implications of any changed fire service funding arrangements for
the role of local governments in funding and facilitating the provision of fire
services, particularly in rural NSW;
consider how the State government's contribution to funding the fire services
should be determined within any new funding framework;
undertake modelling of the impact of the proposed funding arrangements on
taxpayers to assist in determining proposed funding arrangements;
not consider general taxation issues such as the GST and stamp duty on
insurance unless these issues affect the operation of fire services funding
not consider issues that relate to the cost of fire service provision or its
The Committee's proposed funding arrangements should
ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that all those that benefit from the
provision of fire services contribute to funding the fire services;
broadly match funding contributions to the level of service provided to the
taxpayer and/or the risk of fire affecting each taxpayer;
be difficult to avoid through changed taxpayer behaviour; and
provide a stable base for funding fire services.
The report should also consider the appropriate funding arrangements for
meeting the extraordinary costs associated with fighting major bushfires. In
particular, the Committee should examine the possible development of a fire
fighting reserve - funded by a fire service levy - to assist in meeting future
extraordinary costs associated with major bushfires.
The Committee is to report by 29 February 2004.