Energy concessions (21.08.2018)

Written on the 21 August 2018

21 August 2018

COUNCIL 

Adjournment 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

 

My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Families and Children. I am pleased she is in the house this evening, because I am sure she can dispatch this pretty readily. It relates to a concern around public housing tenants in relation to the replacement of heaters that has been going on for some months. I have raised this issue in the house for the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing on a number of occasions.

I received yet another email this afternoon from somebody who is very concerned about what is going on. He has a special interest in providing a cheaper source of heating, and he was responding to the issue that he had a lack of ability to get anywhere with the government. When he has been speaking to people in public housing, especially the elderly, time and time again he has come up against concerns from those people that are saying it is incredibly expensive to run their heating. We all know that. Electricity prices are skyrocketing, and it is pensioners, it is people in public housing, it is small businesses and it is everyday Victorian families who are really feeling the crunch of skyrocketing electricity prices and the effects obviously of the closure of Hazelwood, which has had a real and direct effect on Victorian electricity prices as we speak.

Mr Finn Up by 20 per cent.

Ms CROZIER Up by 20 per cent is right, Mr Finn. They are the facts. But to get back to this important matter that I want to raise with the minister, in the discussion when I spoke to Mr Dance this evening he was explaining that those people in public housing have said they do pay their power bills up-front with the promise of a rebate or concession, which takes up to some months to receive, and they are feeling the hardship with those concessions. In a response to a question that I have received from the minister today about the numbers of concessions for people, the minister said in her response to me:

An estimated 38 421 grants were provided in 201718 to households experiencing financial hardship, including concessions households and low-income households on retailer hardship programs, for either their electricity, gas or water bills. This may mean some households have received grants for more than one utility.

So the action I want from the minister is that she provide a response to the concerns that I have raised in relation to the length of time that it takes for those concessions to be paid to people that are finding real hardship in paying their electricity bills in the public housing space especially, because they do say it is through your office and the department of housing and it is in relation to those concessions that you state have been provided through those grants that not only were given out last year but, I am sure, are going out this year as well.

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