Topics Introduction The Queensland experience Services The levy Farm land Levy questions Further information.
Introduction The Urban Levy Scheme was introduced in 1984 to partially fund the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS). The Scheme is administered through the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 (the Act) which applies a levy on properties within a district and places a legal obligation on local government to collect the levy. From 01 July 2013, the Urban Levy was reformed to the Emergency Management, Fire and Rescue Levy and now applies to all prescribed properties within Queensland. Over the past decade Queenslanders have suffered a significant number of major disasters that have affected many towns and cities throughout the State. Throughout each of these disasters Queensland’s emergency service personnel have provided a first- class response to their respective communities. For too many years the State has been forced to borrow funds to provide both disaster and general business-as-usual emergency responses which, in the long term, has proven itself to be unsustainable.
Introduction The Government determined from 01 January 2014, the levy is to be broadened to ensure a sustainable funding base for emergency services. The purpose of the levy was extended to include Emergency Management, recognising that all Queenslanders are at risk from a wide range of emergencies including floods, cyclones, storms as well as fire and accidents. The aim of the levy is to ensure that the funding for Emergency Management and Fire and Rescue Services is placed on a sustainable footing, so the Government can continue to deliver the services, as, and when they are required. The Emergency Management, Fire and Rescue Levy has two components that will commence from 01 January 2014. First, the levy on properties in the existing levy boundaries will be increased by 6.5%. The second is the establishment of the new E Class levy which will apply to all properties outside the existing levy boundaries. While the levy will still only fund approximately 60% of emergency service costs, it will ensure the State Government can continue providing a first class emergency response for all Queenslanders.
The Queensland experience March 2005 - Cyclone Ingrid - Caused significant impact on the Australian coast. It was unusual in that it is the only cyclone in recorded history to impact, as a severe tropical cyclone, on the coastline of three different States or Territories. It crossed the Queensland east coast south of Lockhart. March 2006 - Cyclone Larry – Was regarded as the most powerful cyclone to affect Queensland in almost a century. It was described "the most devastating cyclone that could potentially be seen on the east coast of Queensland for decades. It was compared to Cyclone Tracy. February 2008 - Mackay floods - Flash flooding on February 15, 2008 devastated Mackay when nearly two-thousand homes and businesses were inundated with water. The floodwaters came without warning after a phenomenal deluge. More than 600mm fell on parts of Mackay in a matter of hours adding to weeks of rain that had saturated surrounding suburbs. March 2010 - Queensland Floods - Heavy rain in March 2010 saw much of south western and central Queensland undergo major flooding. The floods saw inundation of the towns of Charleville, Roma, St George and Theodore among others.
The Queensland Experience (cont.) March 2010 - Cyclone Ului - One of the fastest intensifying tropical cyclones on record, strengthening from a tropical storm to a Category 5 equivalent cyclone within a 30-hour span. Throughout Queensland, infrastructure damage from the storm amounted to $20m and agricultural losses reached $60m December 2010 - Cyclone Tasha - Was a short-lived, but devastating tropical cyclone that exacerbated widespread floods in Queensland. December 2010 - January 2011 - Queensland floods - A series of floods hit Queensland, beginning in December 2010. At least 70 towns and over 200,000 people were affected. January 2011 - Cyclone Yasi - One of the most powerful cyclones to have affected Queensland since records commenced causing severe damage to affected areas. January 2013 - Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald - Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated monsoon trough passed over parts of Queensland over a number of days, causing widespread impact including severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes. Coastal regions of Queensland were the most impacted with Mundubbera, Eidsvold, Gayndah and Bundaberg in the Wide Bay-Burnett hit severely.
Services Emergency Management Queensland All Queenslanders benefit from the work Emergency Management Queensland performs. Emergency Management Queensland contributes to safer, more resilient and sustainable communities by delivering services through: –leading and coordinating activities undertaken before, during and after a disaster or emergency to minimise adverse community impacts –supplying flood boats and vehicles to State Emergency Service Units –response and recovery services including State Emergency Service volunteers, Emergency Service Units, Helicopter Rescue and state disaster response management –supporting volunteer marine rescue organisations as well as contract and community helicopter providers –disaster awareness including community safety and education programs.
QFRS is responsible for the protection of people, property and the environment from fire and chemical emergencies, and in conjunction with other agencies, for the rescue of people trapped in vehicles, buildings, swift-water and other emergency situations. In addition to permanent firefighters, QFRS employs auxiliary firefighters who play a significant role in providing fire and rescue services in many regional areas throughout the state. Auxiliary firefighters respond to incidents from their homes or places of work. QFRS Rural Operations play a vital role supporting volunteer rural fire brigades. Rural Operations is responsible for developing and supporting a community based approach to fire management in rural and urban-rural interface (iZone) areas throughout the state. Services (cont.) Queensland Fire and Rescue Service
The levy For the last 29 years local governments have performed an essential role in collecting the Urban Fire Levy on behalf of QFRS. The Queensland Government and QFRS values the good working relationship we have with local governments. The EMFR Levy has the same structure and processes as the previous urban levy but now extends to all properties in Queensland. Only 7 new councils have never collected the Urban Levy before and there is additional assistance available to help with implementing the levy. Levies are set by Regulation and vary according to the classification of the property and class of district in which the property is situated. Properties to be levied are called ‘prescribed property’ which is defined in the Act as a ‘parcel of land separately held by an owner’ i.e. a lot. This may be different to council rate assessments.
The levy (cont.) The EMFR Levy is divided into 16 levy groups (closely aligned to the Town Planning and Building Classifications) that applied to prescribed property based on use of the property. Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) valuation codes may assist in identifying the use of the property. A pensioner discount is applicable where the applicant is a bona-fide pensioner who holds a Repatriation Health Card (Gold Card) or a Pensioner Concession Card. –Section 13 of the Regulation prescribes 20% as the discount to be applied. Local Governments throughout Queensland are required to collect a levy on behalf of the State Government. Local Governments receive an administrative fee for the administration of the levy.
The levy (cont.) Local governments must identify which properties are liable for the levy (prescribed properties) –Land held under an Act for the benefit of, or on behalf of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander inhabitants are NOT prescribed properties. –The Crown or property owned by the State is exempt from the levy. –Statutory corporations created under Queensland law must be levied even if the corporation represents the Crown e.g. QR Rail, Energex, any electricity generating board etc. After determining the prescribed properties that are within the levy districts in your local government area, council officers must categorise each property and calculate the appropriate levy.
The amount payable is determined by reference to the class of district (A,B,C, D or E) in which the property is situated, the purpose for which the land is used and the size and nature (gross floor area/levels) of any improvements on the land. Schedule 2, “Annual Contributions of Owners of Prescribed Properties” of the Regulation lists the various levy amounts for each use. Services the levy does not cover? QFRS charges a fee for some services including: –Building inspection services –Repeated unwanted (false) alarm calls if more than one in any 60 days –Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) responses. These services are all charged either a set rate or an amount based on the resources used, the time they are required at the incident and any consumable products used. The levy (cont.)
Farm land 1 x Levy A definition of the term farm has recently been added to the Act to provide certainty that contiguous lots used as bona-fide farm land attract a single levy at the classification of ‘Farm - Levy Group 2’. Under Act, farming land means land used for farming within the meaning of the Land Valuation Act 2010, section 48. This statement is used for providing a definition of farming land only. It does not apply DNRM valuation methodology to determine prescribed property for the application of the EMFR Levy. If a parcel of farming land shares a boundary with 1 or more other parcels of farming land (each a contiguous parcel), and each of the contiguous parcels are owned by the same owner, the contiguous parcels are, for this part, taken to be 1 prescribed property.
2 x Contiguous lots 1 x Levy 1.04 Vacant land, including vacant land with a fence 2 x Contiguous lots one lot has a house, the other lot a vacant land. 1 x Levy 2.04 Farm, or area used for grazing, with a dwelling house The same owner owns these 4 lots used as primary producing Result = 2 x levies 1 x 1.04 Vacant land, including vacant land with a fence 1 x 2.04 Farm, or area used for grazing, with a dwelling house Farm land (cont.)
Levy Questions How do I know the classification of the levy district my property is situated in? Go to www.fire.qld.gov.au and selectwww.fire.qld.gov.au The QFRS provides maps showing the boundaries of districts (established by regulation and divided into five(5) classifications, A, B, C, D and E) and a schedule of appropriate charges to be paid. District boundaries identify the area within which the levy will be issued: –A Class = 16 + QFRS Permanent and auxiliary fire officers with EMQ service (14 minute response time) –BClass = 6-15 QFRS Permanent and auxiliary fire officers with EMQ service (14 minute response time) –CClass = 1-5 QFRS Permanent and auxiliary fire officers with EMQ service (14 minute response time) –DClass = Auxiliary QFRS officers with EMQ service (14 minute response time) –E Class = QFRS Permanent and auxiliary fire officers with EMQ service.
Levy Questions How much will the annual levy be for 2013-14? Vacant (per lot)*Residential A Class - $49.10A Class - $178.00 B Class - $37.10B Class - $141.30 C Class - $28.50C Class - $104.60 D Class - $22.10D Class - $87.50 E Class - $11.40 (6 months from 01 Jan 2014) E Class - $45.10 (6 months from 01 Jan 2014) * Primary Producing property with two or more adjoining lots, owned by the same owner, will only pay a single levy. Commercial (average amounts between Group 3-5) –A Class - between $431.60 – $1.425.80 –B Class - between $343.70 – $1,136.80 –C Class - between $256.60 – $851.50 –D Class - between $213.90 – $709.40 –E Class - between $110.20 – $365.50 (6 months from 01 Jan 2014)
Further Information Please contact QFRS Revenue & Information Data Command on any further questions. Jason Smith – Levy Officer (07) 3635 3041 QFRS_RevCom@dcs.qld.gov.au