Governance and funding
State Government Acts and Regulations
Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) (as of 1 January 2011) formerly the New South Wales Fire Brigades (NSWFB), created in 1910, is the State Government agency responsible for the provision of fire, rescue and hazmat services in cities and towns across New South Wales in accordance with the Fire Brigades Act 1989 [external link], the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 [external link] and other related legislation.
All Acts and Regulations listed below link to the Austlii website.
- Fire Brigades Act 1989 [external link]
- Fire Brigades Regulation 2014 [external link]
- Freedom of Information Act 1989 [external link]
- Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 [external link]
- Rural Fires Act 1997 [external link]
- State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 [external link]
- State Emergency Service Act 1989 [external link]
From the the 1 July 2017 the NSW Government will introduce a fairer system for collecting the levy that helps fund our community’s fire and emergency services. A new Emergency Services Property Levy (ESPL) will be paid by all property owners alongside council rates which will be collected by local councils.
The ESPL will replace the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) that is currently collected as part of all property-based insurance policies. From this date, insurance companies will no longer collect the levy as part of property insurance premiums, and therefore insurance premiums will be lower, allowing more people to be able to afford to insure their homes and businesses.
The reform will mean the burden of funding these services will no longer fall only on those with property insurance, but all landowners. The vast majority of insured residential property owners will be better off under the ESPL.
For further information visit: http://www.emergencyservicespropertylevy.nsw.gov.au
How we are currently funded
The 2016-17 financial year is the last year in which the ESL will be charged by insurance companies, with the ESPL coming into effect on 1 July 2017.
The Treasurer sets the amount of the Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) budget each year.
There are three contributors to the total. The insurance industry contributes 73.7%. Local government contributes 11.7%. The State Government contributes 14.6%.
The insurance industry is required, as a condition of doing business in NSW, to remit its 73.7% from the insurance premiums it receives. The total premium income of the insurance companies is not subject to contribution. For instance, only half of a company's income from household insurance premiums is counted, and only 2.5% of motor vehicle premium income.
Local government councils only pay their 11.7% for FRNSW if FRNSW has a station in their "Fire Districts". All councils in the Sydney area are required to contribute because they are part of the "Sydney Fire District".
Outside Sydney, the Councils in many towns and cities from Albury to Young contribute 11.7% for the local FRNSW Fire Brigade.
Although FRNSW does hazmat everywhere and not just in Fire Districts, Councils that don't have a Fire Station of FRNSW in town do not contribute.
The State Government contributes the other 14.6% from the Consolidated Fund. While not everyone in the State contributes the same amount, we all contribute to some extent.
Through taking out insurance, many people contribute when they pay their insurance. The insurance company shows a separate amount on their invoice notice, which they call "fire service levy". This amount is only an estimate of what the insurance company itself will pay. Insurance companies are not required to do any reconciliation between what they show on your premium, and what they actually remit.
Local government (Councils) remit the amount FRNSW calculates as their share. When you pay rates, or pay rent to a landlord who pays rates, you contribute to the Council's contribution.
We all contribute to the State's 14.6% when we pay taxes.
Effective 1 July 2009, FRNSW will no longer administered the collection of contributions from insurance companies and local government councils on behalf of the Crown Entity. This is due to the introduction of a standardised contributory funding system for FRNSW, Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service. Emergency Management NSW (formerly Office of Emergency Services) has now become the central billing and distribution agency for the contributions payable to the three emergency services agencies.
FRNSW does not charge for attending fires, or attending hazardous materials emergencies for less than one hour, or for rescue operations.
Charges may be made for attending a non-fire-related hazardous material emergency for more than one hour or attending repeat avoidable false alarm calls.
Members of the public often ring FRNSW because they have been contacted, usually by phone, to buy raffle tickets ‘to support the firefighters.’ FRNSW does not run raffles. People are urged to be careful when responding to any such invitations. In particular:
- try to identify exactly who is asking you for the money (ie if they say firefighters, ask which fire service or brigade specifically, and ring to check if this is true);
- be very careful about giving personal financial information such as credit card and bank account details.
The Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) is a non-profit group which runs raffles to provide financial support to families of volunteers who are injured fighting fires. The RFSA has no connection with FRNSW. If you have been contacted about a raffle for firefighters, you can contact the RFSA office on (02) 4722 2122 or check their website at www.rfsa.org.au [external link] to check whether the call is genuine.
The core response activities of FRNSW are funded by a mix of funding from state and local government and the insurance industry. We do not solicit donations for our own core activities. FRNSW only accepts donations (usually in the form of sponsorship) for certain of its activities such as Community Fire Units and some community safety prevention programs.
As part of FRNSW's community involvement, many of our personnel regularly make personal donations as well as help to raise funds for selected external organisations such as the Burns Units at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead and the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle. These organisations were chosen because of their connection with the work of FRNSW. Staff also participate in specific fundraisers such as Bluey Day, a major annual fundraising activity by the emergency services sector. If you have an enquiry about fundraising, please contact the Manager, Corporate Communications Capability Manager, phone (02) 9265 2667 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual fire stations sometimes participate in and support particular local community fundraising initiatives. This is a matter for local Zone Commanders and Station Commanders to consider, in accordance with the FRNSW’s policies and procedures. Requests for involvement of local firefighters in fundraising should be made to your local fire station.
Western Plains Zoo
FRNSW sponsors the Asian short-clawed otter at Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo. This sponsorship allows us to place fire safety messages outside these animal exhibits. This has proved a cost-effective way to reach large numbers of visitors to the zoos each year with fire safety messages. The sponsorship also underlines our wider role in protecting the environment from the dangers posed by hazardous material incidents.
Taronga and Western Plains Zoos [external link]
The Burns Unit, The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Voluntary payroll deductions from members of FRNSW and additional proceeds from other fundraising activities, including FRNSW Band, are presented annually to Westmead Hospital’s No. 2 Bandaged Bear Station.
The Burns Unit, The Children's Hospital at Westmead [external link]
Clean Up Australia Day
We contribute annually to this important community initiative. In past years large debris such as concrete blocks, shopping trolleys, tyres, washing machines, car bodies and vehicle parts have been successfully removed by our firefighters. Our Bushfire and Rescue sections, together with hundreds of firefighters across the State, use their skills to remove pollution and waste from local bush and waterways.
Clean up Australia Day [external link]