CGU CEO Duncan West wants the Victorian Government to overhaul the way fire services are funded, slamming the existing system as “grossly unfair”.

In a submission to the Victorian Government’s review of fire services funding, Mr West has called on CGU’s behalf for a system that “does not discriminate against property insurance-holders”.

“The current funding model for the Victorian fire services is grossly unfair,” he says in the submission. “It unfairly penalises the members of the community – those with property insurance – by forcing them to carry the burden of funding fire services for the broader community.”

Victorian fire services currently depend heavily on the fire services levy charged on insurance premiums to fund around 75% of their annual budget. A similar system exists in NSW and Tasmania.

“Fire services are an essential component of a safe community, but the current funding system is unfair, inadequate and inefficient,” Mr West said.

CGU wants the levy replaced with a property-based system, but says this should be extended to include motor vehicle ownership.

“CGU believes fire services should be funded through property rates and motor vehicle registrations,” Mr West said. “This would more accurately reflect the 15% of Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board and 10% of Country Fire Authority callouts attributed to motor vehicles.”

Submissions to the Victorian review closed on July 15. A review white paper is due to be released by the end of February.