Government initiative brings energy bill relief to older Australians

May 30, 2023
Labor announces energy bill relief plan to ease cost of living burden for older Australians. Source: Getty

As the cost of living crisis continues to add pressure on Australian households, a small glimmer of hope has emerged for older Aussies grappling with the burden of escalating energy prices.

To keep their promise of safeguarding the financial well-being of seniors, Labor has announced a new energy bill relief plan for all Commonwealth Senior Health Card (CSHC) holders.

According to Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth, starting from July 2023, over 490,000 older individuals can expect to receive up to $500 per household to help ease the impact of the rising cost of electricity.

“We are delivering on our commitments to do what we can as a government to ease cost-of-living pressures and help older Australians keep more money in their pockets,” Rishworth said.

In November 2022, the government passed legislation that broadened the eligibility criteria for the CSHC.

The changes raised the income thresholds, enabling singles with an annual income of $90,000 (previously $57,761) and couples with $144,000 (previously $92,416) to qualify for specific federal healthcare benefits and concessions.

This is the second energy relief plan the Albanese government has implemented aimed at protecting consumers from rising energy costs.

Earlier this year, the Albanese government announced that the gas price caps will be extended until mid-2025.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the new code includes measures to prevent gas producers from returning to their pre-regulation pricing levels, ensuring that they do not “revert to normal” when the current price cap expires at the end of this year.

“This is all about cutting the link between very volatile international gas prices and the prices Australian industries and households pay for gas,” Bowen said.

“It means Australian industries and households get access to Australian gas that’s under Australian soil and Australian waters at a reasonable price.”

While the money-saving meausures are no doubt welcomed by many Australians, the announcement of the energy bill relief comes days after Australian Energy Regulator (AER) confirmed that from July 1, homes can expect to see their bills rise to 25 per cent, affecting over 600,000 customers across NSW, South Australia, and southeast Queensland.

Residents in NSW can expect to see a price increase of $440 to $594 annually, while southeast Queensland may be paying an additional $402. Those in South Australia could see their prices increase to $511.

Although the rising cost of living shows no signs of slowing down, there are certain things you can do to make your hard-earned money last longer.

One of the best ways is to understand and take advantage of the energy concessions you are entitled to.

To discover the energy concessions that are available in your state and to learn more about further discounts available in areas such as transportation and health, download the free Starts at 60 2023 Seniors Concessions Guide today.

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