Australians are set to receive some much-needed relief from rising power bills in the upcoming Budget after Treasurer Jim Chalmers outlined measures that will address cost of living concerns.
The $1.5 billion relief package aims to subsidise the electricity bills of millions of households and one million businesses, benefiting pensioners, small businesses, and individuals receiving government payments, with up to $500 relief from rising energy prices
“More than 5.5 million households will get some assistance with their electricity bills, and around a million small businesses will be eligible as well, to take some of the edge off what is the key drivers of these cost of living pressures,” Chalmers told the ABC.
“People will be getting several hundred dollars if they’re on pensions and payments, or a small business, but depending on where you live, depending on what the price pressures are, depending on how much the states and territories are prepared to kick in because this is a co-investment with them.”
The Budget is rolling off the printers. Thanks to all the dedicated staff at Treasury, Finance and across the APS, the printers and production staff #Budget2023 #auspol #ausecon pic.twitter.com/9WjzPc4Erg
— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 7, 2023
In addition to the Federal Government’s relief package for household power bills, the upcoming Budget will reportedly see Labor committing $11.3 billion towards funding a substantial 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers, matching the recent Fair Work Commission’s directive for the sector.
The significant investment is expected to draw more staff to the sector and will be a vital step forward towards the government’s commitment to improving the quality of aged care in Australia.
As per The Guardian, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the move will “ensure that quality aged care workers are less likely to contemplate leaving the sector because of pay concerns.”
“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around-the-clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Wells said.
The government has also allocated $1.1 billion to fund the price reductions on prescription medications, which will be implemented through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as part of its Budget measures.
Starting on May 1, 2023, over 300 prescription medications will be available at half price in the hopes of making it easier and cheaper for those with chronic conditions who spend considerable sums on medication.
Medicines for conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, and hypertension will be included in the new policy, which is expected to deliver budget savings by reducing patients’ visits to the GP to obtain the common medicines they need.
The move has been widely welcomed by healthcare professionals and patient groups, who have long advocated for greater access to affordable prescription medications.
Australian Health Minister Mark Butler highlighted the importance of the new policy, stating that it will address the issue of Australians delaying or going without necessary medication due to the cost.