Pensioners' concession increase gets nod
THE Queensland Council of Social Service says the government's decision to increase pensioner's electricity concessions was a step in the right direction.
Queensland pensioners and seniors will now be able to apply for an electricity rebate of $320.97 annually.
The concession increase, which takes effect from Tuesday, represents an additional $38.43 compared with this time last year.
Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Mark Henley said the majority of pensioners would be better off but it would essentially come down to each individual's electricity usage.
"Some people will be better off, but if they are high electricity users then they may not be," he said.
"The government has tried to match the electricity increases for pensioners and that is a step in the right direction.
"At least pensioners will not be forced to make up the shortfall from their own pockets."
Energy Minister Mark McArdle said the government was increasing a range of concessions and rebates worth hundreds of dollars to help with electricity and gas bills.
"The government promised to lower the cost of living wherever we could and we are making sure that pensioners and other vulnerable Queenslanders get some relief on household costs," he said.
Opposition Treasurer Curtis Pitt claimed the new financial year would see the average household electricity bill rise a further 13.6%.
He claimed the average power bill had risen $560 under the Newman government.
"When Campbell Newman was in Opposition he told Queenslanders that if he was elected Premier he would put in place a plan that would lower their power bills," he said.
"Many families, feeling the weight of cost of living pressures, took him at his word."
Communities Minister Tracy Davis said the government had also boosted concessions for Queenslanders living with serious medical conditions.
"The Medical Cooling and Heating Electricity Concession Scheme will increase by $38.43 to $320.97 and the Electricity Life Support Concession Scheme will rise as high as $653.70 per year for oxygen concentrators and $437.77 per year for kidney dialysis," she said.