The Victorian Coalition Government is making a record investment in concessions in the 2012-13 State Budget to help ease cost of living pressures, Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge announced today.
"In response to growing cost of living pressures, we are delivering responsible and necessary support to protect more vulnerable Victorians than ever before," Ms Wooldridge said.
"Next year, 35,000 additional households will access electricity concessions, an extra 25,000 households will get water and sewage concessions and more than 5,500 additional households will receive concessions for municipal rates and charges."
"The Coalition Government has increased funding for concessions to $647.1 million in the 2012-13 financial year, in contrast with $493.2 million in Labor's last budget.
"We have increased funding for concessions by more than 30 per cent in two years.
"It includes spending on the Coalition's new year-round electricity concession, so that eligible Victorians now get 17.5 per cent off their electricity bills right throughout the year, not just in winter.
"As part of this year's Budget, a threshold for gas and electricity concessions will be introduced to take into account the Commonwealth Government's carbon tax," Ms Wooldridge said.
The state government concession will not apply to that part of the energy bill covered by Commonwealth compensation, which represents a subsidy of $2.50 a month for electricity across the year and $1.82 a month for gas across six months of the year.
The adjustment will not affect the net position of those receiving Victorian Government energy concessions.
If the Commonwealth Government's projections of the impost of the carbon tax are incorrect and rises in electricity and gas prices are greater than anticipated and compensated, the Victorian Government's ongoing concession arrangements will ensure state government concessions are available to cover the extra costs above those compensated by the Commonwealth.
The Victorian Coalition Government provides concessions support across a range of goods and services including housing, water, energy, health, education and transport.
To be eligible for concessions, individuals must hold a commonwealth-issued Pensioner Concession, Veterans Affairs Pensioner, Health Care, or DVA gold card. Victorian Seniors Card holders are also eligible for public transport concessions. Applicants must reside in Victoria.
For more information on the Victorian Government's concessions program and eligibility criteria, visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/financial-support/concessions