Fees and charges up $440 a year

Pilbara News - - News - Gary Ad­shead

Power bills in WA will in­crease $169 a year as part of an over­all hit to house­hold bud­gets of al­most $440 a year un­der changes an­nounced by Trea­surer Ben Wy­att yes­ter­day.

But the $238 mil­lion in rev­enue and sav­ings from the changes to fees and charges will have min­i­mal im­pact on the dire state of WA’s fi­nances, which sug­gests more pain could come in Septem­ber’s Budget.

On top of the power, wa­ter and pub­lic trans­port fare in­creases, about 370,000 self-funded re­tirees will have their WA Se­niors Card re­bates on coun­cil and wa­ter rates capped at $100 each.

“I think most West Aus­tralians will at the very least un­der­stand the cir­cum­stances un­der which these de­ci­sions were made,” Mr Wy­att said.

He said the 10.9 per cent in­crease in elec­tric­ity charges was im­posed by dou­bling the fixed com­po­nent of power bills while leav­ing the vari­able con­sump­tion charge at the same rate.

“This is a fun­da­men­tal re­bal­ance of the tar­iff that has been needed for a long pe­riod be­cause the cur­rent fixed charge has no cor­re­la­tion to the cost of sup­ply­ing en­ergy to house­holds,” Mr Wy­att said.

He said the in­crease was about $60 more than what the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had forecast in the Budget’s for­ward es­ti­mates.

Wa­ter charges will in­crease by 6 per cent, which had al­ready been fore­shad­owed.

Stan­dard pub­lic trans­port fares will go up by 1.8 per cent and ve­hi­cle li­cens­ing will cost an ex­tra 5.5 per cent a year.

The Op­po­si­tion con­demned the in­crease to power bills, ar­gu­ing the La­bor Gov­ern­ment had hit house­hold­ers hard to pay for its $5 billion in elec­tion prom­ises.

Shadow trea­surer Dean Nalder said: “Ev­ery house­hold faces a $169 in­crease in their power bill, no mat­ter how much or how lit­tle elec­tric­ity they use.

“They could use no elec­tric­ity and their bill will in­crease from $177 to $346 a year.”

The WA Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vices said the Gov­ern­ment’s Budget re­pair would hurt the most vul­ner­a­ble and warned that the in­creases in avail­able hard­ship pay­ments did not match the bur­den be­ing put on fam­i­lies.

But Pre­mier Mark McGowan told Par­lia­ment the in­creases were un­avoid­able and the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment should be ashamed of it­self.

“They are a di­rect re­sult of the Lib­eral/Na­tional gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment,” Mr McGowan said.

“Year af­ter year we warned you about your reck­less spend­ing and the way you were treat­ing the Budget.”

Ben Wy­att

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