Heated Debate

Humans are a funny bunch. Sometimes we can all get along. Most of the time, we just agree to disagree. I’d wager that the majority of conflicts in human history can be attributed to disagreements that have gotten out of hand. Whether it was stealing fire, land or a coat of many colours…the list is endless.

So it’s really quite a rare occurrence when politicians, insurers and consumer leaders can unanimously agree on an issue.  Especially when that issue is related to taxes. It was Benjamin Franklin who once said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. After reading a report from Insurance News, I’m not so certain they’re a certainty anymore.

The report announces the news that insurers, politicians and consumer leaders have all agreed that taxes on insurance are inefficient and can contribute to underinsurance. Almost all Australian states and territories have agreed to abandon levies on insurance policies to finance their individual fire services.

Fire

Image: pixabay.com

So why the sudden change? After a recommendation from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires royal commission, Victoria made the switch to a more efficient system way back in 2013. It’s argued that emergency services are vital, and should be shouldered by the entire community.  It’s also said that our fire and emergency services are such an essential part of our infrastructure that shouldn’t be placed solely upon those who take out insurance. According to the report, as the last mainland state to use a levy, New South Wales will switch to a charge on property rates on July 1st. Hopefully the switch will lead to a more efficient system for the financing of our fire and emergency services.

Of course, there’s still one state that is yet to make the switch and abandon taxes on insurance. That’s Tasmania. For the time being, Tassie, we can just agree to disagree.

Words by Skye Jamieson