On Tuesday 19 November at 6pm, the NSW RFS / Tathra Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade will hold a community education meeting in the Brigade’s fire station on Bega Road, Tathra.
The meeting is open to all residents and property owners from Tathra and surrounds. It is being held to inform the community and provide tips on bush fire preparedness. It will be attended by Mr Marty Webster, Community Safety Officer RFS, Far South Coast Team, and Tathra RFS Captain and vice-Captains.
The meeting will provide information and discussion on how to prepare a bush fire plan, and help residents to learn more about the operations of the local RFS, especially during emergencies. Mr Webster said the recent Blue Mountains fires had been a sad reminder of the potential for havoc to be caused. “The aim of the meeting is for as many residents as possible to learn the key importance and links between preparation action and survival. Planning to make a plan is not a plan”, he said.
Tathra RFS Captain, Adam Wiggins, said the local brigade spent many hours training for emergencies with members constantly upgrading their skills. “We are prepared. We want the community to be as well prepared”.
Six crew members from Tathra Brigade rolled up their sleeves last Wednesday to give blood. This is a most deserving activity - who knows whose life your blood may save.
Members of the public who would like to donate blood should contact the Red Cross and book into the next event in April, 2014.
Recent Fire activity around the State has highlighted the need to begin preparing for Bush Fires, at which are highly likely to impact upon us this fire season.
Pick up a copy of the "Bush Fire Survival Plan" from the Bega Fire Control Centre today, or from our Firefighters at the Tathra Fire Station Open Day on Saturday the 28th September.
PREPARE - ACT - SURVIVE.
Congratulations to Deputy Captain Lance Hartley, on being awarded NSW RFSA Member of the year for 2012-13.
Deputy Captain Hartley has put countless hours of work into RFSA initiatives as Delegate for the Bega Valley Branch, Chair of Division 6 and as a State Council Member. All in addition to his dedication to the Tathra Brigade as Deputy and training officer.
(Extract from the RFSA website)
The NSW Rural Fire Service Association has welcomed a decision by the State government to delay a decision on the introduction of an emergency services levy.
Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher announced the delay at the RFSA Biennial Conference in Mudgee. RFSA President, Tim Arnott said the commitment to delay a decision while the state observes all the challenges with the introduction of an emergency services levy in Victoria will make sure the NSW Rural Fire Service is not disadvantaged.
“Minister Gallacher told delegates the State government has taken a decision as a result of the submissions that were made, both verbal and in writing, to look closely at what was happening in Victoria following the introduction of their changes to the emergency services levy," Mr Arnott said.
“We welcome the decision by the State government to wait up to two years before moving on the emergency services levy.
“Our position has always been to have the best funding model used which provides the best support for rural fire fighting across NSW.
“The flexibility of the current funding scheme for emergency services must be maintained if any new system is introduced in the future and we’re concerned an Emergency Services Levy will not do that.
“While the funding model is not perfect, with the majority funded through an insurance levy, we’ve found it’s the best funding model to provide support to both the volunteer and staff members of the Association.”
Emergency Services in NSW are funded 73.7 per cent through an insurance levy of, 11.7 per cent from local government and 14.6 per cent from the State government.
“We’ve seen from other states such as Queensland that when an emergency services levy is introduced, rural fire brigades lose out and are disadvantaged,” he said.
“There have also been concerns expressed about the introduction of the Victorian scheme, with many people having to pay more under the new levy than the previous insurance levy.
“Any funding model must fully fund all emergency services in NSW and we don’t believe a property based levy will achieve this without inflicting financial pain on the NSW Community.
“There are many organisations which are exempt from paying rates, including government bodies, churches and private schools. These organisations currently pay for emergency services through insurance premiums but would become exempt under a property based levy and we believe this is totally unfair.
You may or may not know that Emergency Services operations are currently funded through an ‘insurance based’ system, where 73.7% (approx. $671m Financial Year 10-11) of total funding are collected by insurance companies. Insurance companies collect levies from businesses (49%), residential properties (45%) and rural properties (6%).
Collection costs related to Emergency Services levy in South Australia are estimated at $6.5m. Based on NSW population and on a pro-rata basis, collection costs could be in the order of $30m. These costs are currently absorbed by insurance companies and need to be considered.
According to Treasury, Emergency Services funding discussion paper (July 2012, page 21), the shift from an insurance based to a property based system will have an impact on contributions distribution between businesses, residential properties and rural properties where a greater portion will be collected from residential and rural properties (respectively $526m i.e. 75% and $84m i.e. 12% in comparison to $302m and $40m currently) as per the diagram below.
Many people in the Bega Valley electorate are taking notice and beginning to question the alternative funding proposal. Basically it means another financial impost on the rate payer.
Read the following article from a Mr. Stephen Kemp of Merimbula, which was printed in the Merimbula News Weekly Wednesday 29th May. If you feel the same way, you are strongly urged to contact the Mayor or our local member, the Right Honourable Mr Andrew Constance and air your concerns.