How is the sector funded?

The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on fixed and mobile property is the primary source of funding for the provision of emergency services in South Australia and is governed by the Emergency Services Funding Act 1998 (the Act).

The money collected by the ESL is placed into a dedicated fund, the Community Emergency Services Fund (CESF), exclusively for the funding of emergency services and related activities.  The money is used to fund the operations of the Metropolitan Fire Service, Country Fire Service and State Emergency Service, and includes all operational costs as well as the purchase of assets such as  new buildings, fire appliances, tankers and other vehicles and equipment used to fight fires, conduct rescue operations and assist with response and recovery operations for natural disaster events like floods and storms.

The South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission also receives funding as it provides strategic oversight  and co-ordination functions for the emergency services sector, as well as functional support including finance, human resources, asset and procurement services, volunteer support, workplace safety and information technology.

Funding is also provided towards the emergency service activities of other government agencies such as South Australia Police for items such as its response to emergency situations and rescue operations, the Department for Environment and Water for its bushfire management operations, and the South Australian Ambulance Service towards its Special Operations Team used for high-risk rescue.  The State Rescue Helicopter also receives funding towards its emergency services operations.

Non government organisations such as Volunteer Marine Rescue and Surf Life Saving South Australia receive funding towards their emergency service operations and infrastructure needs, and the cost of the fixed and rotary wing aerial shark patrol for our metropolitan beaches during the summer months is also met from the CESF.

The Department of Treasury and Finance (through RevenueSA) and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (through ServiceSA) have been appointed by the Government as the respective collection agencies for the fixed property and mobile property components of the ESL payable under the Act, with collection costs being recouped from the CESF.