The State Government has welcomed today’s SACOSS report into utility costs for South Australians on low incomes and is considering the measures as part of its plan to relieve cost of living pressures on struggling families.

In responding to today’s report, Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison highlighted a series of important measurers that the Government is undertaking to help South Australian households that are suffering hardship, including:

  • A new energy discount offer for concession holders with Origin Energy which will slash between $253 and $531 off the cost of a standing electricity contract – announced last week
  • Providing almost $900 annually to pensioners and other eligible low income families for cost of living expenses including for ESL, energy, sewerage and cost of living (if a household receives the medical heating and cooling concession this increases to just under $1100 annually)
  • The implementation of State Government’s energy plan to take back control of South Australia’s energy future, improve grid security and, importantly, put downward pressure on power prices for households and businesses. Since the plan was announced, wholesale energy costs have fallen below Victoria and are comparable with other Eastern States
  • 400 solar photovoltaic systems on public housing properties and a further 1000 solar hot water systems
  • $122 million in water concessions to about 120 000 property owners state-wide saving up to 30 per cent of an annual water bill
  • Other rebates and concessions include those for public transport, licensing and registration, glasses, public school fees, ambulance cover and third party insurance.

Minister Bettison said that a Labor Government would always stand up for South Australians doing it tough, and is currently considering further ways to ease cost of living pressures.

Background

The State Government provides $170 million worth of concessions to more than 180,000 households for expenses including energy, water, sewerage, the Emergency Services Levy and the Cost of Living Concession.

Minister Bettison will soon write to 168,000 eligible households currently receiving State Government energy concessions to encourage them to opt into the Origin Energy offer which will reduce bills by between $253 and $531.

All households should visit the energy made easy website to find the best energy deal for their household. The site provides comparison information, including standard and market offers for energy retailers.

Quotes attributable to Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettison

The State Government is constantly looking at new ways to reduce cost of living costs for our most vulnerable households.

For 168,000 South Australian households currently receiving State Government concessions, a saving of up to $531 will provide a significant boost to their budget.

This offer strengthens the State Government’s support for fixed and low income households and I urge people to consider switching to the new offer so they can pay less on their energy costs.

I welcome today’s SACOSS report into utility costs for low income South Australians and look forward to working with them to drive down energy costs for struggling families.