Low Income Concessions Failing Those in Need - ACOSS
1 April 2014 at 9:08 am
Australian low income earners are missing out on lighting, hot water and heating due to failure of the schemes designed to assist them, an Australian Council of Social Service report has revealed.
The ACOSS report, Preventing shocks and addressing energy poverty, details the important role that adequate energy concessions play in helping people avoid disconnections, and the failure of current arrangements on energy concessions to protect people on low incomes from disconnection and hardship.
ACOSS said among those worst hit were single parents and couples with children, including those on the Newstart allowance of just $36 per day.
According to the data, a quarter of people relying on Newstart are unable to pay their electricity bill on time and people on Newstart are eight times less likely to be able to afford heating than other members of the community.
The data also revealed concessions in South Australia and Queensland were singled out as being in the most urgent need of reform.
“Lagging states need to lift their game to ensure that everyone can meet their basic energy needs,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“The 12.8 per cent of people (or 2.2 million) in our community experiencing poverty continue to struggle energy stress. The impacts of this include going without water, heating and lighting, disconnections and being forced to make other trade-offs to make ends meet.
“Many energy concession schemes are poorly targeted and actually fail the people they’re designed to help, leaving them in the grips of energy poverty.”
The ACOSS report recommends lagging states improve their concessions to ensure those on lowest incomes receive adequate assistance.
The report also sets a longer term goal of moving to a nationally consistent concessions framework that protects low income households from energy poverty, preventing them from being forced to make the sorts of biting sacrifices detailed in the report.
To download the report, click here.
|Key states where energy concessions are failing people in need according to ACOSS|
New South Wales