Residents in the Eastern Reporter distribution area lodged 448 applications to the Department of Child Protection and Family Support from January to May 2014.
The suburb recording the highest amount of Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme (HUGS) applications was Beechboro with 127, while Kiara recorded the lowest with six.
HUGS provides financial assistance to help people with financial difficulties pay their water, gas and electricity bills so their supply is not cut off.
Following the story headlined ‘Sharp rise in need for bill help’, published in the Eastern Reporter on September 30, Child Protection and Family Support Minister Helen Morton said there had been a ‘slight increase’ in HUGS applications of about 2 per cent from January to May 2014 compared with January to May 2013.
‘The increase is considered minimal and reflects population growth,’ she said.
‘It is always a concern that some families and individuals experience financial hardship.
‘The State Government recognises that services such as, electricity, water and gas are essential to the living standards of our community.
‘Through HUGS, we are committed to responding to community needs by delivering assistance.’