Today’s State Budget revealed positive signs the Queensland Government was listening to the community services sector, however it remains important the sector is engaged and consulted to ensure the needs of Queenslanders are adequately met.
A typical Queensland household will save a mere 14 cents a week following today’s announcement of electricity prices for 2015-16 by the Queensland Competition Authority. The small drop in the usage charge for electricity will deliver little benefit for many, with the fixed charge continuing to climb, now four times higher than it was three years ago.
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) welcomes today’s Australian Energy Regulator (AER) draft Distribution Determination however more needs to be done to help vulnerable Queensland households. The decision to reduce the revenue which Queensland’s electricity network companies will be allowed to recover from costomers over the next five years means that the average household electricity bill will only decrease by approximately $34 in 2015-16.
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement today that they will delay electricity price deregulation for 12 months. QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said QCOSS had recommended the delay to ensure a number of critical issues were fully considered and addressed before deregulating electricity prices in South East Queensland, and it was pleased the government had listened.
Peak community and housing groups today called on the Commonwealth Government to work with them in developing a national housing strategy to address the worsening housing affordability crisis in Australia.
More than 7,000 Queensland households were disconnected for not paying an electricity bill between July and September last year, the highest quarterly rate of disconnections since 2011, according to figures released today by the Queensland Competition Authority.
With nearly 15 per cent of Queenslanders living below the poverty line, Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) today calls on all candidates in the Queensland state election to be held on 31 January to commit to actions which will ensure the social and economic wellbeing for all. The QCOSS 2015 Queensland Election Platform outlines the key actions an elected government will need to take to achieve the vision of thousands of Queenslanders captured in the Queensland Plan.
It doesn’t matter where you live in Queensland, you will be facing a bleak Christmas if you are relying on government income support. QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said the latest Cost of Living Report which compares six places across Queensland for the first time, revealed that single unemployed people and single-parents were unable to afford a most basic standard of living and were therefore being forced to choose between foregoing essential items or risk slipping further into debt.
Community organisations today have welcomed AGL Energy Limited’s (AGL) $6m commitment to provide greater support for vulnerable energy customers.
Regional Queensland power prices stabilise but some will still struggle For the first time the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has today announced draft electricity prices for regional Queenslanders that are less than expected but will still hit some customers hard. While the average increase from 1 July 2015 will be around $40 per year the fixed charge has increased 29 per cent which means for some regional households bills will go up even before they have turned on a light.
With another year’s Anti-Poverty Week drawing to a close, more than 200 Queensland community service workers will come together today to share best practice and learn new skills to support the half a million Queenslanders living below the poverty line.
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Mark Henley today welcomed the introduction of new consumer protections for electricity and gas customers across the state from 1 July next year. The changes result from the Queensland Government’s adoption of the National Energy Retail Law through a bill passed in Parliament last night.
Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households in remote Queensland communities are often living without electricity, unable to afford the necessary power cards or unable to buy one due to limited business operating hours, a new report released today has found. The Queensland Council of Social Services’ (QCOSS) report explores the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers using electricity pre-payment meters in remote communities.
Single pensioners renting in the private market are likely to be paying nearly half their pension on rent, according to the latest Cost of Living Report, released by QCOSS today.
Concession improvements for low-income and vulnerable Queenslanders have been flagged in the Queensland Government’s 30 Year Electricity Strategy, released today, but with disconnections on the rise short-term solutions are needed now.
Hundreds of thousands of pensioners will breathe a sigh of relief today with news that the Queensland Government will cover a federal budget shortfall of more than $50 million per annum in pensioner concessions. QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said it was a significant win for pensioners, with many already struggling to afford the most basic standard of living.
On the surface Queensland’s State Budget has delivered a mixed bag of results for the state’s most vulnerable residents, with extra funding for families and children but potential concession cuts for pensioners. QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said the allocation of $406 million over five years to improve child protection and family services was a bright spot in an otherwise cautious budget.
A different approach to concessions is urgently needed to protect Queenslanders already struggling to make ends meet given the 66 per cent increase in the fixed charge of all electricity bills from 1 July.
Homelessness and employment services in Cairns have banded together with all three tiers of government to find new ways of helping homeless people get back on track through employment. Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Mark Henley said 15 organisations and five government departments were involved in the collaborative project which will give people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness additional support to access training and ultimately secure a job.
The human face of homelessness has been captured following a campaign which involved more than 1000 surveys being completed by some of Brisbane’s most vulnerable residents.