Axing the energy supplement risks pushing vulnerable Central Victorians even further into a cycle of poverty and hardship, Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP said today.
“At a time when wholesale energy prices have doubled since 2013, cutting this payment to the most vulnerable members of our community will make a huge impact to household budgets,” said Ms Chesters.
Labor estimates that 1.7 million Australians will be affected by the Liberal Government’s decision to scrap the energy supplement, including many Central Victorian age pensioners, people on disability support pension and carers.
If the Government gets its way new single pensioners will be $14.10 per fortnight worse off. That’s around $365 a year worse off.
Couple pensioners will be $21.20 a fortnight worse off. That’s about $550 a year worse off.
“This might not sound like a lot of money, but for pensioners it can make a big difference.
“As cost of living pressures show no sign of easing and basics such as rent, power, gas and water get more expensive, every dollar in the household budget is needed.
“A local pensioner, Kay, contacted me last week to let me know her winter electricity bill was $100 more expensive than last year. When you’re on a low income like Kay, this is a huge hit to her budget.
“The energy supplement was designed to help pensioners with their electricity and gas bills and that assistance is needed now more than ever.
“This winter, Central Victorians will see an increase in their electricity bills of at least 20%.
“There is an energy crisis in Australia at the moment and the Government is failing to sort out the policy uncertainty in this sector.
“The Government is also failing to stop electricity companies from ripping us off,” said Ms Chesters.
Ms Chesters is attending the Eaglehawk Community House Community Lunch today to talk with locals about the rising cost of energy and the impact this is having on local households.