Fees and charges up $440 a year
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.”