Posted on 17. Oct, 2013 in Clayton Update

Members for South-Eastern Metropolitan Region Inga Peulich and Gordon Rich-Phillips yesterday voted against legislation to improve the flawed and inequitable Fires Services Property Levy (FSPL), Hong Lim MP, the Member for Clayton 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 Napthine Government voted against reforms that home owners and small and large businesses have been calling for,” Hong Lim said.

“Instead of listening to the concerns of Victorians who are facing significantly increased costs, the Members for South-Eastern Metropolitan Region Inga Peulich and Gordon Rich-Phillips, voted to keep the unfair status quo.”

Shadow Treasurer, Tim Pallas, said 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 Government’s changes came into effect in July this year, Labor MPs have received thousands of complaints from a range of rate payers including pensioners, charities and employers,” Mr Pallas said.

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

Hong Lim said 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,” Hong Lim said.
“As one aggrieved tax-payer wrote: ‘as crazy as it might seem, I was better off paying the tax on a tax on a tax’.”
“The Government have not been listening when Victorians told them that the new levy wasn’t fair.

“Even during the debate on the Bill yesterday, Liberal MLC Philip Davis was insisting that ‘collectively every household in Victoria is now better off,’ ignoring the fact that there are groups who are worse off.”

Hong Lim said that 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 Clayton who were paying their fair share under the previous scheme but are now being slugged hundreds of dollars extra under the Napthine Government’s unfair levy,” Mr Lim said.

In the South-Eastern Metropolitan Region, which Ms Peulich and Mr Rich-Phillips represent, local MPs have heard from owners of investment properties paying up to six times more, and one commercial property owner paying nearly three times more than before.

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