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30/10/2014

Emergency Services Levy increase hurts wine businesses

The South Australian Wine Industry Association's (SAWIA) survey of members has shown that the Emergency Services Levy has increased anywhere between 20 and 657 per cent.

In the latest SAWIA newsletter, the organisation stated "the dollars involved are considerable even before thinking of all the costs that a business has to pay just to stay in business".

It represents a significant amount of wine to sell, and if sales are flat, businesses are considering other ways to reduce costs in order to pay the government charges.

SAWIA MEMBER FEEDBACK:

When asked about the impact of the increased Emergency Services Levy, this is what SAWIA members had to say:

  • "With so many costs increasing, it is making it harder and harder to compete"
  • "Any increase in business costs is unacceptable"
  • "South Australia is becoming a very hard place to do business"
  • "Increases like this are outrageous"
  • "The cost of doing business is excessive"
  • "Negative, taxation by stealth and not even for emergency services"
  • "Labour expense is now the most likely source of compensating overhead reductions”

And other comments which were equally informative:

  • “We are located in a rural area with poor emergency services assistance, supported by fantastic volunteers who are fund raising for equipment. This levy isn’t even used to support the services it was originally intended for"
  • "Our experience is contrary to that of the Treasurer"
  • "Unfair to receive this increase without warning or reasoning"
  • "Increase is ridiculous in the extreme"

And the best member comment of all?

  • “Gotta love our government supporting the small business sector!”

According to SAWIA, the State Government has been playing politics with the levy, claiming that additional revenue is needed to deal with federal cuts to health and education.

"Clearly, the government is feeling the heat on the issue with various media running stories on the community and business impact," the SAWIA newsletter stated.

"With regions largely served by emergency service volunteers, it is of concern when members are re-thinking their commitment to release staff, provide funding support for equipment or have services that are less than adequate.

"It is even more concerning that some members are contemplating job cuts to pay for the levy increase, which will have significant impact on those individuals but also impact on government revenue."

With the State Government recently announcing that all current serving CFS volunteers developing certain cancers will now receive automatic compensation without the threshold that eliminated many volunteers, it does show that the government is capable of re-thinking a position and providing some fairness and equity.

"If that re-think also resulted in a reduction in the cost of doing business in South Australia that would be warmly welcomed," SAWIA said.

For more information, SAWIA members can contact Brian Smedley on 8222 9274 or .

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