The increase in the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) announced on 13 April alongside the DFES rural fire division (DRFD) was published in the Government Gazette this week, making it official.
The total amount of ESL expected in the 2018/19 financial year is more than $391 million up $38.5 million from last year’s approved amount.
This is planned to rise to over $400 million in the 2019-20 year.
This amount forms part of the overall DFES budget of $429,881,000 which includes a $5 million reduction in appropriations from the State Government and almost $10 million less from the Royalties for Regions Fund.
Employee benefits are the biggest single cost to DFES, next year increasing by around $3 million to a total of $219,819,000 (51 per cent of the total DFES budget).
The total budget for Local Government Emergency Service Grants, funding for all SES units and around 550 Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades will increase next year by just over $900,000 to $31.8 million.
The full details of the DFES budget can be found from page 364 of Budget Paper No.2 – Volume 2 available for free download at https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au/
The State Budget announced structural changes to establish a Rural Fire Division, following the recommendation from the bushfire review ‘Reframing Rural Fire Management: Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire’.
Comments said the new structure will “better promote improved collaboration, communication and support to strengthen the important role volunteers play in contributing to Western Australia’s emergency service capability at state, regional and local levels.”