Cash boost for half a million Aussies – here’s who qualifies for the $500 award
- Nearly 500,000 Aussies are eligible for an energy discount
- Senior Health Card holders get $500 in utility bills relief
- Energy prices will increase by up to 25 percent from July
Nearly 500,000 Australians are eligible for a rebate worth hundreds of dollars in an effort to offset a major price hike expected on July 1.
All Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders receive up to $500 per household in utility bill relief from the federal government.
From July 1, electricity prices will rise between 20 and 25 percent for those in NSW, South East Queensland and South Australia.
Australia’s energy regulator (AER) announced its final determination on Thursday, with the revised increase higher than the March draft of 20 to 22 percent.
AER chairman Clare Savage said it had been a ‘tough decision’ but high wholesale energy costs continued to drive up retail prices.
Australia’s energy regulator has confirmed electricity prices will rise from July (stock image)
“No one wants to see rising prices, and we recognize that this is a difficult time, so it’s important that consumers shop around for a better deal,” she said.
Social Affairs Minister Amanda Rishworth said the scheme would ‘help older Australians keep more money in their pockets’.
Following the AER announcement on Thursday, opposition leader Peter Dutton said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had ‘lied’ to Australians about energy prices.
“Let’s be very clear about this, he promised 97 times that your bill would drop by $275,” he told Today host Karl Stefanovic.
“I think the government is completely underestimating how much families and small businesses are hurting right now.”
Mr Dutton also called the suggestion that rising energy prices were partly a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “nonsense argument”.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles responded to the opposition’s comments, accusing Mr Dutton of ‘making things up’ and saying the Liberal Party had voted against the $500 aid plan.
“When that war started, no one could have imagined that it would still be like this today,” said Mr. Marles.
“That has disrupted energy prices and we have had to deal with that.”
All Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders receive up to $500 per household in energy bill relief from the Albanian government (stock image)
Opposition leader Peter Dutton (pictured) claimed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had ‘lied’ to Australians about energy prices after the AER announced they would rise
The income limits for the Seniors Health Card were raised to $90,000 for singles and $144,000 for couples on November 4, 2022 — the biggest increase in more than 20 years.
“It’s great that in six months since the new income thresholds were introduced, so many older Australians have gained access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card,” said Ms Rishworth.
“Our hope is that this take-up trajectory continues and that more older Australians continue to benefit from these increased income limits in years to come.”
Initial projections of increased income limits predicted an additional 52,000 Australians would benefit from the scheme by 2026-27.
Since November, an additional 16,230 previously ineligible Australians have gained access to the card.
The AER said that if the government had not intervened in the energy market, energy prices would have risen by 35 to 50 percent.