The following Question Without Notice was asked by the Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC and answered today by the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC on behalf of Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA.
Hon PETER COLLIER to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
My question without notice is asked on behalf of Hon Dr Steve Thomas, who is on urgent parliamentary business.
I refer to the government’s COVID-19 economic response, which included a freeze on the emergency services levy, in a media release of 16 March 2020.
(1) Given that the rate of the ESL is usually set in the budget process, on what date will the ESL be set for the 2020–21 financial year?
(2) If this date is beyond the end of the 2019–20 financial year, how are local governments expected to manage the ESL collection process, which normally goes out with the rates in July or August?
(3) Will the revaluation of property values by the WA Valuer-General’s office in 2020 impact on the collection of the ESL; and, if so, in what way?
(4) As part of the policy announced in March, will individual property owner’s ESL charge be frozen, or will the overall amount collected under the ESL in Western Australia be frozen?
(5) If each individual property owner’s ESL charge will not be frozen, what will be the potential impact on individual properties?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank Hon Dr Steve Thomas for some notice of the question. The following answer has been provided to me by the Minister for Emergency Services.
(1)–(5) The declaration of ESL rates and operating parameters will be made before 31 May 2020, unless an alternative relevant day is declared by the Minister for Emergency Services. If an alternative relevant day is declared, this will be before 30 June 2020 to enable local governments to manage ESL collections on behalf of the state government, as part of their ratings process. The government is currently considering options to deliver this commitment, balanced with the need to fund our emergency services to protect the community.