Liberals call on Labor to not increase ESL after this week’s floods

The State Liberals are warning the Weatherill Labor Government not to use this week’s wild weather as an excuse to hit South Australians with another increase to the ESL.

Premier Weatherill must rule out a further increase to the ESL tax to pay for cost recovery for this week’s wild weather and flood damage, as his Government has previously done for other natural disasters.

Earlier this year, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis announced a 1.5 per cent increase to the ESL in 2016-17, which included $2.8 million in cost recovery for the Pinery fire (Koutsantonis media release, 20/05/2016).

Last year, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis increased the ESL to account for $7.5 million for the emergency services response to the Sampson Flat bushfire (Koutsantonis media release, 20/05/2015).

“No doubt the Weatherill Government is again planning to jack-up the ESL as it did after the Sampson Flat fire and Pinery fire,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“The Weatherill Government’s massive increases in the ESL tax doesn’t just hit homeowners; it is also levied on sporting clubs, community organisations, churches and independent schools.

“South Australians simply cannot afford another ESL increase.”

The State Liberals have already committed to restoring the ESL remission for all South Australians, which delivers a $90 million tax cut per year for all South Australians.

“While we will cut ESL bills for all South Australians if elected in 2018, what the Weatherill Labor Government has the power to do right now is to at least restore the ESL remission for any member of an emergency services volunteer organisation,” said Mr Marshall.

“Once again, our CFS and SES volunteers have worked tirelessly over this past week to keep South Australians safe.

“To force these volunteers to pay their massive ESL bills would show once again how little this State Government values volunteers.

“It is the least the Weatherill Labor Government can do to show their proper thanks and appreciation to our volunteers.”