The Victorian Coalition Government will ease the burden on families by providing an additional $414.3 million over the next four years in the 2011-12 Victorian Budget to boost electricity and water, sewerage concessions available to low-income households, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said today.
The new funding delivers on the Coalition’s commitment to address cost of living pressures and will benefit approximately 850,000 households and more than 1.5 million Victorians.
“The cost of living is increasing and we need to support the most vulnerable Victorians who struggle to afford even the most basic and services,” Ms Wooldridge said.
The new $381.6 million initiative ensures concession card holders receive a discount on their electricity bill all year, not just during the six-month winter period.
“Low-income households will see a year-round saving of 17.5 per cent on their electricity bills under the Coalition’s Annual Electricity Concession,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“We estimate an additional 38,000 households will receive this concession for the first time next financial year.”
“We have made the decision to provide a year-round saving to avoid situations where low-income families can no longer afford to heat or cool their homes. We need to ensure that families struggling with the cost of living can afford power all year round.”
More than 700,000 households will also be helped by significant increases in the water and sewerage concessions. The water concession cap will be increased at a cost of $62.9 million. It is estimated that an additional 32,000 households will receive water and sewerage concessions for the first time next financial year.
The Coalition Government is also providing 10,000 extra households with concessions for rates and municipal charges and an extra 57,000 households with gas concessions.
As of today (3 May 2011), the Home Wise and Water Wise programs will cease. New rebate schemes for water and energy efficient appliances for low income households will be run by the Department of Sustainability and Environment from 1 July 2011.