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Premier Mark McGowan has acknowledged the rising cost of living has hit Western Australian households hard with budgets being painfully squeezed on multiple fronts. From filling up your shopping trolley to the rising cost of keeping a roof over your head, life has become increasingly expensive over the past year.
McGowan said the cost of living measures announced would help West Australians ride out the wave of inflation.
McGowan has spruiked his cost of living measures.Credit: Nathan Perri
“The war in Ukraine, high inflation and multiple hikes in interest rates have placed additional pressure on WA households,” he said.
“Including the $400 electricity credit, everyday household fees and charges will be lower in 2023-24 than five years ago.
“This is recognition households across our State are weathering the storm of global inflation and interest rate rises.”
So what’s in the 2023-24 State Budget that will help people struggling with the cost of living?
Power bill relief
All WA households irrespective of their income will receive at least $400 off their electricity bill. It will be delivered in two lots of $200 in the July/August and November/December billing cycles.
Additional assistance will be provided to 350,000 households eligible for the Energy Assistance Payment. They will receive a $500 electricity credit split over two payments in addition to $326 in support paid over the financial year bringing the total support to $826. This applies to concession cardholders which includes pensioner concession cards, health care card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or a Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card.
Around 90,000 small businesses who use up to 50MWh of power each year will receive a credit of $650 on their power bills. The electricity credits for small businesses and vulnerable households are partly funded in measures announced on Tuesday night in the federal budget.
The Hardship Utility Grant Scheme payments will increase by 10 per cent for those who are in financial hardship and unable to pay their utility bills. Grants will be capped at $640 per household and $1060 for households in the north of the state. The latest figures show more than half a million Synergy customers are in debt on their electricity account, an increase of $104,000 compared to June 2021. A further 108,000 customer accounts are classified as being in some kind of financial difficulty.
The Seniors Cost of Living Rebate will be increased in line with inflation over the next four years boosting the 2023-24 rebate to $104 for singles and $156 for couples at a cost of $16 million.
Household fees and charges
On average the household basket of fees and charges will increase by 2.4 per cent from July 1, 2023. The estimated impact on the ‘representative’ household on this basket of public sector goods and services in 2023-24 represents an increase of $154. On average a household will pay nearly $7000 per annum in tariffs, fees and charges.
Electricity and water charges will rise by 2.5 per cent.
Transperth and Transwa fares will increase by 2 per cent. School student fares remain frozen at 70 cents. Public transport will be free on the first Sunday of each month starting from the WA Day long weekend. Fares will remain capped to two zones saving some outer suburban commuters thousands a year.
The cost to licence your vehicle will rise by 3.9 per cent to $431, an increase of $16 per annum.
Motor vehicle injury insurance charges will rise by 2.3 per cent to $436, an increase of $10 per annum.
The cost of renewing your driver’s licence will remain steady at $93.70.
Emergency services levy
The levy will rise by 5 per cent to $312, an increase of nearly $15 per annum.
Perth’s inflation rate at 5.8 per cent was the lowest across the nation’s capitals in the March quarter, but remains at historically high levels. Food prices increased 7.5 per cent in the year to March, while rental inflation rose two per cent across the quarter.
The latest household electricity credit is the third, on top of the $400 electricity credit announced in last year’s Budget and $600 in 2020-21 bringing total relief to at least $1400 for every household.
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