In July 2013, the Victorian Government replaced the old fire services levy with a new system. Rather than being added to insurance premiums, the new levy would be collected as part of council rates, meaning all property owners would contribute. The challenge was to announce this new levy in a way that explained why it would be more equitable. With low levels of awareness, the risk was that when the change was announced, people would only hear “new tax”.
A qualitative study found that almost no-one was aware that they were already paying a fire services levy via their property insurance (one respondent out of 55, to be precise!). This led us to develop the line: It’s not a new fire levy, it’s a fairer fire levy. By focusing the campaign on the idea of fairness, we short-circuited the inevitable knee-jerk reactions that an announcement of government charges would typically generate. We brought this simple message to life on television, in print, on radio and online.