How the WA State Budget will affect your hip pocket

Stock image.
Stock image.

WEST Australians are set for an increase of around $128 in household fees this year after today’s state budget announcement.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said it was the lowest increase in 13 years.

“With the Budget now officially in surplus this year, the McGowan Government is now in a position to provide relief to households, with the worst of the increases in household bills well and truly behind us,” he said.

Electricity prices will be part of this rise with a 1.75 per cent increase, or around $30 per year, amidst some calls for a freeze on power bills.

A recent WA Economic Regulation Authority report revealed the state has a higher electricity disconnection rate than New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, with almost 20,000 homes disconnected over 2017-18 after struggling with bills.

Mr Wyatt said the balance had been struck between finances and providing support.

“The problem with the freeze is that it creates a time bomb, you need an increase the year after or the year after that,” he said.

“No one likes a bill increase, I understand that, but I think we’ve struck the balance between finances and providing support.”

$40m is being invested in the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme to provide assistance to struggling Western Australians.

Vehicle-related costs are set to rise by around $22 per year per car, and there will be no increase in the cost of licences.

$2.4b will be spent to provide concessions and subsidies for families and seniors in need, including a $305 WA Government Energy Assistance Payment for all households with a means-tested concession card and dependent child rebates ($320.51 for the first child, $83.44 for subsequent children) for households with dependent children and a means-tested concession card.

In housing, the recently-announced Keystart boost will see existing income limits increase by $15,000 for singles and $20,000 for families from July 1 to December 31 this year.