New electricity rebate is now available to help those who need it most
Thanks to Palaszczuk Government reforms, Queensland families with a Commonwealth Health Care Card and asylum seekers can now apply for electricity concessions to save $330 a year on their energy bills.
Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to support vulnerable Queenslanders in times of need meant 157,000 Queenslanders could now apply for the Electricity Rebate through their retailer.
“From today (1 April 2017), Health Care Card holders and asylum seekers are eligible to receive a rebate of $330 a year,” Mr Bailey said.
“These groups will be able to contact their electricity retailer to apply for the concession which will be back-dated to 1 January for eligible households.
“This payment of $330 per year will go a long way in helping vulnerable families with electricity costs.”
Mr Bailey said the changes were thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s additional $170 million investment over four years to expand the current rebate, in response to Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) findings.
“Reforming the energy concessions framework to improve support to vulnerable customers is a key element of the Government’s response to the QPC’s finding,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Electricity Rebate will continue to be available for eligible Pensioner Concession Card holders, Department of Veterans’ Affairs Card holders or Queensland Seniors Card holders.”
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Curtis Pitt, said the 2016 State Budget earmarked $560 million to continue electricity price subsidies for regional consumers.
Mr Pitt said the $170 million over four years allocated in the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review in December would help ensure those who needed support the most received it.
Mr Bailey said he was committed to stabilising electricity prices after they surged 43 per cent during the Newman-Nicholls government.
“We came to government with a firm commitment to Queenslanders to stabilise electricity prices and this is another step forward, that will help low-income earners,” he said.
To apply for these concessions households should call their electricity retailer and provide their Health Care Card or ImmiCard number.
The Palaszczuk Government has also reformed the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS) to make it easier for households to access the Scheme.
“HEEAS helps low-income households who are in short-term financial difficulty because of unexpected, emergency expenses to get back on their feet through a one-off payment of up to $720 towards their energy account,” Mr Bailey said.
“The HEEAS application form has been simplified and shortened, and is now able to be provided electronically for customers if they wish”.
Further information about eligibility and available assistance for vulnerable Queenslanders is available via 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit www.qld.gov.au/community/cost-of-living-support/concessions/ or www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/rebates