The Emergency Services Levy (ESL)

The majority of the funding for the NSW State Emergency Services NSW Rural Fire Service and  Fire and Rescue NSW  comes from a levy imposed on property insurance policyholders. The levy funds these services, supporting the work they do to help NSW residents protect their properties from fire, flood, storms and other natural disasters.

The NSW Government determines the total budget for the emergency services authorities and requires insurance companies to contribute 73.7 per cent of the total. The balance is provided by the Treasury (14.6 per cent) and Local Councils (11.7 per cent).

The individual insurance companies’ allocations are set based on their market share of premiums of specified insurance classes. The insurance companies generally recoup their contributions by collecting an amount from their policyholders, referred to as the Emergency Services Levy (ESL). The ESL is added to the base premiums, after which GST and Stamp Duty are added to give the final premium. With a few exceptions, companies are required to specify the ESL component of premiums on policy notices to customers.