Australians across the country to receive cost of living assistance

As the cost of living continues to rise, state governments across the country are attempting to offer some relief on soaring electricity bills.

Residents in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will soon begin to receive some help paying their power bills in the form of rebates.

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It comes as the country’s energy regulator announced that from July 1, due to global pressures such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and severe weather events, Australians will see significant increases in bills that will continue to put pressure on struggling families.

Amid the looming price hikes, experts have criticized the rebates, stating while the short term relief will be beneficial, Australians need to see more long term relief from the rising cost of living, such as wage growth.

Here are the rebates announced for each state.

New South Wales

Households in NSW experiencing difficulty paying their energy bills will be able to access up to $1600 a year in support payments from next week, Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said on Thursday.

“With cost-of-living pressures increasing, cooler weather arriving and days shortening, we want to make sure households in NSW not only keep the lights on but keep their families safe, warm and comfortable,” he said.

Eligible customers can receive the assistance of up to $400 per application for electricity and up to $400 per application for gas bills twice a year.

The assistance, part of the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance program, is set to help about 49.000 struggling NSW families experiencing short-term financial hardship with their energy bills.

Residents can see if they’re eligible for payment assistance through the Service NSW Savings Finder.

queensland

All Queensland households will get a $175 rebate on their household power bills, with the state’s wholesale electricity prices the highest in the nation.

The Australian Energy Regulator has reported Queensland’s prices jumped 60 per cent to $283 per megawatt hour between March and May, with residential customers’ bills likely to rise by up to 12.6 per cent.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says households will get a $175 rebate on their next power bill to offset that increase.

She says electricity providers will automatically apply the credit to the next round of household power bills.

“People are having to make difficult choices including going without,” Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the rebate would cost the government $585 million and be included in next month’s budget.

Victoria

Every Victorian household will be able to receive a one-off $250 payment to ease the soaring cost of living.

The payments will start flowing from July 1, with Victorians asked to register on the Energy Compare website to become eligible.

The website compares energy provider prices and suggests the right retailer for various consumer needs and budgets, slashing bills by up to $330 a year.

Dubbed the ‘Power Saving Bonus,’ the $250 handouts were originally rolled out to help vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic and the scheme has now been expanded and extended.

“This is a great opportunity for Victorians to save money, ease the cost of living, and cut their energy bills,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.

“Big power companies rely on people not having the time, information or knowledge to save money.

“But we know better deals are out there – and we’re helping Victorian families find them.”

The payments, which will be available until June 30 next year, will come at a cost of $250 million to Tuesday’s state budget.

South Australia

Households in South Australia experiencing difficulty paying their energy bills will be able to access up to $233.60 in support payments.

“For 2021/22, you may be eligible to receive up to $233.60 a year to cover energy payments, including fuels used to generate energy,” the South Australian Government said in a statement.

“The concession is calculated as a flat rate per day and is indexed each financial year.”

Western Australia

More than 1 million Western Australians will receive a $400 credit towards their power bill.

The near $450 million in funding for the credit surplus will be drawn from another massive operating budget tipped to weigh in at more than $7 billion, on top of a forecast $2.4 billion for 2021/22 and a record $5.6 billion in 2020/21.

The government has already announced billions of dollars in new spending measures, from health to electric vehicle rebates, on the back of its strong balance sheet – a rarity in a nation where other state budgets are in the red.

“Every other state in Australia is in deficit and racking up big debt bills … we’re doing the opposite … and that gives room to do more in terms of cost of living,” McGowan said on Wednesday.

The hand out is a repeat of 2020, where the state government gave away $600 in power bills credit to electricity accounts in the months before Labor’s landslide state election victory.

– With AAP

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