WA Labor recognises that financial hardship from housing, food and other costs is hitting hard. Colin Barnett has approved large CBD projects while increases in the cost of living impact many Western Australians.
WA Labor policies will target these impacts, including the single biggest contributor to financial stress- housing. We have released policies that will deliver lower electricity prices than there would be under Colin Barnett and will legislate to ensure the same electricity prices regardless of where people live.
WA Labor believes the Barnett government should release the Tariff and Concessions Framework Review report, which WACOSS contributed so strongly to.
WA Labor has committed to a Support Network portal, making it easier for people to access financial assistance and to a payment to help parents with education costs.
We will be releasing more policies to help with the cost of living. Our policies can be found here.
As outlined in the answer to question 3, the State Government has introduced the new CoLA payment which saw the annual payment per eligible household increase from $147 to $200. This payment is estimated to reach over 340,000 people and is a significant boost to the cost of living assistance provided by the Government.
In addition to the CoLA payment, a total of $11.7 million was allocated in 2012-13 to assist households in financial hardship pay their utility bills through the Hardship Utilities Grants Scheme (HUGS), which is an increase of $7.6 million over the previous allocation to the program. Under the HUGS scheme the State Government pays up to 85 per cent of a household’s gas, electricity or water bill, where the individual is assessed as being in financial hardship. Together with the new CoLA payment, the increased allocation to HUGS reflects the Government’s commitment to assisting disadvantaged and vulnerable households.
The Greens (WA} believe that housing affordability should be measured to account for the full cost of living in a particular place, including energy and transport costs. We released a $68m initiative to install solar panels on every public housing home, to cut electricity bills by an average of $500 a year. We also want to see the retrofit of all public housing to improve energy and water efficiency and insulation. The Greens (WA} support a one-stop shop for the Concessions WA portal, a single application form for multiple concessions, and improved data matching for the proactive identification of entitlements. We also support the introduction of a Concessional Tariff for low income households experiencing utility hardship complimented by an energy efficiency program targeted to low-income households in hardship with excessive energy consumption.
The response from the National Party did not address the individual priorities. Please refer to their letter for more details of their response, please click here.
The following paragraph from their letter appears to be of relevance to this particular priority:
The Nationals WA have introduced the Country Pension Fuel Card which provides country people on a range of pensions with $500 a year towards the cost of fuel and taxi fares. Country pensioners have limited access to public transport and rely on private transport to maintain their independence, attend medical appointments and remain connected to their community. We are incredibly proud that the fuel card is now helping close to 50,000 country pensioners.