Politics

Labor Is Being Urged To Give Out $1000 Energy Relief Payments Amid The Rising Cost Of Living

Power is expected to increase by as much as 18 percent in July in some areas.

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The government is being urged to protect vulnerable people from the cost of living crisis by providing an immediately $1000 emergency energy debt relief payment.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has warned that it is “deeply concerned about the financial pressures on people on very low fixed incomes”.

ACOSS did acknowledge the fact that Australia’s current cost of living crisis is not Labor’s fault and was “inherited” from the previous government, but urged the new government to take urgent action to help those already in arrears in their energy bills.

“People on low incomes pay four times more of their income on energy bills,” ACOSS climate and energy program director Kellie Caught said of the crisis. “We know there are more than 250,000 people already in energy debt coming out of Covid and rising prices will mean either people turn off their heaters and hot water to avoid energy debt, at risk to their health, or go without other essentials like food and medicine.”

The problem is only expected to get worse as energy prices are tipped to rise by as much as 18 percent in some areas in the coming months.

According to ACOSS, the number of households that have been forced to go into arrears has “skyrocketed” throughout the pandemic, suggesting both an immediate $1000 payment, as well as more long-term solutions such as increasing income support payments to at least $70 per day.

However, Anthony Albanese is yet to make any real commitment to raising the rate, despite claiming that “no one [will be] left behind” in his victory speech on election night.

The Greens, as well as crossbenchers Zoe Daniel and Kylea Tink, support raising the rate of JobSeeker.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen will meet with state and territory energy ministers on Wednesday to discuss how to deal with the “perfect storm” cost of living crisis.