By John Austin
“Free Viagra for pensioners! Fantastic. Where do I get it?” So quipped one senior wag on hearing about the Australian Government’s Energy Supplement.
At this stage it is best we establish that the Energy Supplement is not a medication to boost one’s vitals!
Rather, the supplement is much-needed taxpayer-funded support helping pensioners pay rising energy costs. Several years ago, the Federal Government moved to scrap the supplement for new pensioners. National Seniors fought that and won.
But the supplement is no longer indexed to keep pace with inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). We say If prices go up the supplement should go up.
National Seniors is continuing to fight for age pensioners by calling on all political parties to restore indexation and better support pensioners facing ballooning energy and living costs.
You can make this happen by telling politicians what you want. So, please sign our petition calling for indexation. If you have already signed, thank you. If you haven’t please join us by going to our campaign website.
As we all know, rising energy costs hit the hip pocket hard, particularly of those such as pensioners, who are on low incomes. Between 2007–08 and 2015–16 electricity and gas prices increased between 80 and 90 percent, far exceeding inflation. In 2017, retail electricity prices increased as much as 20 percent and some households ended up $600-$700 worse off.
Reinstating indexation will help pensioners as part of our broader Energy Affordability Campaign to cut energy costs for all Australians. Besides helping save the Energy Supplement, we’ve had other wins including:
- Default Market Offer: Following our submission to the ACCC’s retail electricity price inquiry, the federal government has directed the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to come up with a ‘default market offer’ by 30 April next year. This will help simplify and standardise market offers, and consumers more easily compare the different offers available.
- Network costs: Following our lobbying the AER has put forward a proposal to cut excessive returns by gas and electricity network businesses on their infrastructure investment. This could save consumers around $30-$40 a year and means future investment in the power system must be based on the demands of consumers and not on unnecessary spending on power poles, wires and other infrastructure.
Join our Energy Affordability campaign.