Wednesday 29 May 2013


Hansard of the Legislative Council







Mr FINCH (Question) - My questions are to the leader. First, is the government aware that some people using life-support equipment are struggling to pay power charges because the electricity life-support rebate, introduced in January 2002, has not been increased since then although there have been at least 12 cumulative power increases over those 11 years? Second, will the government consider reviewing the rebate whenever the electricity price rises?


Mr FARRELL - Mr President, I thank the member for Rosevears for his questions. Electricity is an essential service that is critical to support Tasmanian households and businesses to go about their everyday activities. It is important that everyone has access to affordable and reliable electricity. The government recognises that the existing life-support concession that is voluntarily provided by Aurora Energy has not been indexed since its inception in 2002 and that this is causing hardship among those who depend on life-support equipment.


Accordingly, the existing concession rates will be re-based taking account of price increases since 2002 and will increase by 117 per cent, which is the increase in the rate of domestic light and power tariff over this period. The new concession rates will take effect from 1 January 2014 at a cost of $450 000 per annum. In addition, the government announced that a new electricity concession will be provided to persons with a medical need for air conditioning. Funding of $585 000 over four years has been allocated in the budget to provide this concession. In future the concessions will be indexed in line with average changes in electricity prices, as is the case for the pensioner and health care card annual electricity concessions.