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Emergency Management Levy Frequently Asked Questions

The below Frequently Asked Questions have been compiled from questions asked by Rate Payers.

What is the Emergency Management Levy?

On 01 July 2013, the Urban Fire Levy was reformed to the Emergency Management Levy (EML) and has applied to all properties within Queensland from 01 January 2014, to ensure a more sustainable funding base for emergency services.

Why was the levy extended/reformed?

The existing levy was broadened to the EML recognising that all Queenslanders are at risk from a wide range of emergencies including floods, cyclones, storms as well as fire and accidents.

Who will pay the EML?

With a few exceptions, every property in Queensland will attract the levy.  The owner of the property will be charged the levy.

How is the levy charged?

The EML has two components.

  • The levy class A, B, C, D and E

Class A:  24 hour, 7 day, permanent staff (at least 16 full time fire officers)

Class B:  Mixed auxiliary and permanent staff (6-15 full time fire officers)

Class C:  Mixed auxiliary and permanent staff (1-5 full time fire officers)

Class D:  Currently auxiliary staff only

Class E: Remainder of State.

  • The levy group 1-16 based on the use of the property

Group 1: Is largely vacant land

Group 2:  Is largely single residences

Group 3-16:  Are commercial properties increasing in size and risk factors.

The levy is a State Government levy that is collected via your council rates notice. 

Are there any properties exempt from the EML?

The following categories will be exempt from the EML if the property is within the Class E Levy District:

  • cemetery;
  • club that is not a licensed premises;
  • church, church hall or community hall;
  • community protection centre;
  • library, museum, art gallery or zoo;
  • tourist attraction (less than 4050m2);
  • airfields; and
  • showground or racecourse.

For further information about the exemptions in the Class E Levy District, please contact the Levy Management Unit on (07) 3635 3041 or email QFESLevy@qfes.qld.gov.au

Will the levy apply to each lot or each rates notice?

The levy applies to each individual lot except where lots are used as bona-fide primary producing land (refer to Question 6). More than one levy may appear on a rates notice that is for multiple lots.

How will the EML apply to properties used as bona-fide primary producing land?

If a parcel of farming land shares a boundary with one or more other parcels of farming land (each a contiguous parcel), and each of the contiguous parcels are owned by the same owner, then one levy will apply on the contiguous parcels.

Why am I paying the EML when there is a volunteer Rural Fire Service in my area?

It's important to note that the purpose of the levy is to support and sustain all emergency management, fire and rescue services – our professional services and our volunteer services. 

Even before the recent changes, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have been responding not only to fire but to motor vehicle entrapments, flooding and rescuing people from fast flowing water, search and rescue of people lost in the bush or the outback. All of these can occur in any corner of our vast state of Queensland. 

Does the EML replace the rural fire levy?

No, while Rural Fire Brigades do not receive direct funding from the EML, the Government has retained the provision for local councils at their discretion to continue to raise a rural fire levy to fund the operational costs for brigades and ensure the ongoing support to Rural Fire Brigades.

The State Government continues to support emergency service volunteers by providing personal protective clothing; communications equipment; co-funded and fully funded fire fighting equipment; fully funded appliances; station construction grants; training; insurance, and other assistance.

On an annual basis the Government provides more than $50 million per annum to emergency services volunteers in the Rural Fire Services and the State Emergency Service.

How much will I pay?

Refer to Schedule 2 of the Fire and Emergency Service Regulation 2011 for the annual amount.

Where can I find the Legislation and Regulation?

The Fire and Emergency Service Act 1990 can be accessed at https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-1990-010

The Fire and Emergency Service Regulation 2011 can be accessed at https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/sl-2011-0160

Do Pensioners get a discount?

A 20 percent discount of the levy is granted for a person in receipt of a pension under any law of the Commonwealth or of the State declared that is an owner of a prescribed property and is their principal place of residence.  Contact your local council for more information.

Where can I find further information about the EML?

Please contact Levy Management Unit regarding any further questions on (07) 3635 3041 or email QFESLevy@qfes.qld.gov.au