Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s backflip on the Fire and Emergency Services Levy – due to be introduced in a month – has thrown the community, councils and insurers into chaos and confusion. 

The new tax was – in the words of the Treasurer – the most significant reform of a generation – and yet after five years in the making the Government has waited until the eleventh hour to act.

Councils had been preparing to bundle the new tax in with rates notices, householders and businesses were weighing up the cost and insurers were meant to have dropped their premiums in anticipation of its introduction on July 1.

Touted by the Premier and Treasurer as a fairer way of funding the state's fire and emergency services, the Government has faced a concerted backlash from householders who have seen their bills skyrocket.

Only now that the inequity of the tax has been exposed has the Premier and her Treasurer been prompted to act and go back to the drawing board.

There now hangs a question mark over the future funding of emergency services now that the tax has been shelved.

The latest backflip follows the Mike Baird’s infamous one on greyhounds last year and the Premier’s U turn on some council amalgamations.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The community, emergency service workers, councils and insurers were all looking to government for certainty and all they are getting is chaos and confusion.”

“You have to question the Government’s motivation for backflipping. It’s not because they want to do the right thing but rather they have been caught out trying to pull the wool over the community’s eyes.

“The Premier and her Treasurer told us that they had done all their homework on this tax when clearly they haven’t – they both get an F for fail.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park

“This is a government in a complete and utter crisis. After five years of trying to get it right they admit at the eleventh hour that they have got it wrong.

“They needed an urgent memo to tell them a lot of peoples levy bill would rise by hundreds of dollars a year - pushing up the already high cost of living under this Government. That shows you how out of touch this lot are.

“How can the community trust the Government that stuffed it up, is now able to fix it. 

“They can't do reform, they can't do policy and they've simply got no idea.”