Pensioners to keep rebates despite federal cuts
CONESSIONS and rebates that were to be cut by the Federal Government's budget from today will not be affected after the Queensland Government vowed to fork out the extra funds.
When the state budget was handed down on June 3, Treasurer Tim Nicholls told Queenslanders the state could not afford to replace the cash stripped from pensioners and concession card holders by the Federal Budget a month earlier.
Two days later, and following a concerted backlash, Premier Campbell Newman announced he would stop seniors from losing more than $250 a year by covering four years of cuts totalling $250 million made by Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle and Communities Minister Tracy Davis said this promise by the Premier would now start being felt by the state's most vulnerable.
"The Queensland Government promised to lower the cost of living wherever we could and we're making sure that pensioners and other vulnerable Queenslanders get some relief on household costs," Mr McArdle said.
Ms Davis said pensioners and older Queenslanders told the LNP government they couldn't afford the cuts.
"The Queensland Government has listened to their concerns and acted quickly to cover the loss of Canberra's contribution," she said.
Those with serious medical conditions would also be given more concessions, Ms Davis said.
Queensland Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt meanwhile said with the new financial year came a new increase in power charges.
He said the government had failed to keep its pre-election promise to keep down the cost of living.
"Campbell Newman arrogantly promised to lower Queenslanders' electricity bills, yet ever since he's become Premier they've just gone up and up and up," Mr Pitt said.
"Already in 2013-14, electricity bills have gone up an average 22.6%. Starting July 1, 2014-15 prices will increase by 13.6%. That's an extra $560 on the average power bill under the Newman Government."
Mr McArdle said Queenslanders could expect to save about $170 on their power bill this financial year if the Abbott Government is able to scrap the carbon tax.