South Australians should prepare themselves for another hit to their hip pockets in the upcoming State Budget with Emergency Services Minister Tony Piccolo informing emergency service organisations that the Emergency Service Levy (ESL) may need to be increased.
CFS Volunteers Association Executive Director, Sonia St Alban, told a Parliamentary committee that Minister Piccolo informed the Chief Officers Advisory Committee yesterday that there may have to be increases in the ESL to pay for the Weatherill Labor Government’s proposed emergency services restructure.
SES Volunteers Association Executive Officer, Susan Caracoussis, also told the Committee that Minister Piccolo first talked about raising the ESL on the 4th of August last year in Port Lincoln.
South Australians experienced exorbitant increases to the ESL in last year’s State Budget, which adversely affected family budgets, schools, businesses, sporting clubs and other community groups.
CFS brigades across the State even refused to attend bushfires on government land, including national parks, in protest against these massive hikes.
“Once again, South Australians are being used as cash cows by the Weatherill Labor Government – enough is enough,” said Shadow Emergency Services Minister Duncan McFetridge.
“Increasing the ESL twice in as many years is absolutely unthinkable given that many South Australians are struggling to make ends meet as it is.
“If Premier Weatherill increases the ESL again, it shows just how out of touch he is with South Australians.
“Premier Weatherill must immediately tell South Australians whether or not his Government is planning to increase the ESL again.”