Power bill relief payment set for 3.9m Aussies

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

ALMOST four million Australians will get a one-off payment to help cover their next electricity bill as part of Tuesday’s federal budget.

The Energy Assistance Payment – $75 for singles and $125 for couples – will be paid into the bank accounts of 3.9 million people before July.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the policy would particularly help people on the age pension – but Labor argues it is a “con” to cover the coalition’s lack of an energy policy.

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“This is money that is going to go into people’s pockets to help meet the cost of their next power bill,” Mr Frydenberg told Nine’s Today Show on Sunday.

“At the same time we are taking action to reduce energy prices.”

The payment will go to 2.4 million people on the age pension, 744,000 people on a disability support pension, and 280,000 people getting carer payments.

A further 242,000 people getting single parent payments will also get the extra cash, along with 225,000 veterans and their eligible dependents.

“The government is able to deliver this assistance because our responsible budget management allows us to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This is responsible targeted spending into key areas that lifts the productive capacity of the economy.”

News Corp reports the proposal was first put forward under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and was originally going to be part of his plans to reduce power prices before he was dumped.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the payment worked out to be $1.45 a week.

“It’s better than nothing, but it’s not an energy policy. $1.45 a week for 12 months is not an energy policy, it’s an election con,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Shorten said Labor would revive Mr Turnbull’s axed National Energy Guarantee, which was designed to cut $500 a year from power bills.

The coalition forced Mr Turnbull out of office rather than support the energy guarantee, which linked energy prices, reliability and emissions reductions into one national scheme.

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