Cost-of-living Relief For Canberrans

Cost-of-living pressures are being felt across the country, and the Government is continuing to support Canberrans who are most impacted.

This year's Budget does more for low-income households, including a new, one-off $250 payment to support local apprentices and trainees.

Apprentices and trainees have a restricted earning capacity while they are obtaining their qualification, and this payment recognises the financial pressures these Canberrans are facing.

Eligible apprentices and trainees will be contacted by the ACT Government by the end of September and will not need to apply for the payment.

The ACT Government is also expanding the Future of Education Equity Fund, with an additional $1m. The Fund has been hugely successful in supporting students and families in need, helping them with the costs of their education.

Already in 2024, the Future of Education Equity Fund has supported more than 5000 students in Canberra.

Over 40,000 low-income households in Canberra will also benefit from an increase to the Electricity, Gas and Water Rebate. The payment will be increased to $800 per year, helping these households with their home energy costs. When combined with the $300 Federal Government energy payment, one in five Canberra households will receive $1,100 in assistance towards their energy bills.

These initiatives are part of a comprehensive cost-of-living package included in this year's Budget. The package also includes:

  • Expanding the Utilities Hardship Fund, including increasing vouchers from $100 to $300, to support more households to change their energy use.
  • Extending the Rent Relief Fund to support more Canberrans on low incomes who are experiencing rental stress or severe financial hardship.
  • Expanding public transport concession fares to include Canberrans with a Commonwealth Low-Income Health Care Card, to support more people accessing buses and light rail.
  • Additional funding to Roundabout Canberra, Scouts ACT, Fearless Women and Women's Health Matters to support these community organisations to continue delivering essential services to vulnerable Canberrans.
  • Additional funding for emergency material and financial aid programs and food relief services, to support vulnerable Canberrans in need of food and other necessities.
  • Increasing assistance through the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, including increasing the subsidy for ride users, further reducing out-of-pocket costs for vulnerable Canberrans.
  • Increasing the Life Support Rebate to $150 a year, to support more Canberrans using electric life support equipment to treat a life-threatening condition.

The package of initiatives to help Canberrans was developed by the cost-of-living subcommittee announced late last year.

Quotes attributable to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr:

"The ACT Government is continuing to deliver targeted cost of living support.

"Through the initiatives the Government has put in place over a number of years, we're helping tens of thousands of Canberra families with their everyday costs.

"This also includes investments like free 3-year-old preschool, additional free health services through our walk-in centres, energy rebates and fee-free TAFE places.

"This year's Budget continues this work, reducing costs where possible and providing financial support to the Canberrans who need it most."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education and Youth Affairs Yvette Berry:

"Every child deserves a quality education.

"The expansion of the Education Equity Fund will enable the ACT Government to support more students and their families with a range of school expenses, including items or activities to enrich their learning.

"Importantly, this additional funding will help us further improve equity and access – principles central to the ACT Government's Future of Education strategy."

Quotes attributable Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury:

"We understand that many Canberrans are still facing immense pressure due to high rents and cost-of-living challenges. This additional funding for the Rent Relief Fund is a lifeline for our most vulnerable renters, offering them much-needed financial support to stay in their homes and maintain stability during these difficult times.

"The ACT Government is committed to leading the nation in supporting the rights and wellbeing of renters. By extending the Rent Relief Fund, we are not only providing immediate relief but also demonstrating our ongoing commitment to ensuring housing affordability and security for all Canberrans."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Community Services, Seniors and Veterans Emma Davidson:

"We want all Canberrans to have the essential items they need in their everyday life. But with the rising cost of living, more and more people are giving up food to pay the bills.

"The additional $913,000 in the 2024-25 ACT Budget for food relief will support the Canberra community's access to essential grocery items. It continues to recognise and build on the fantastic support our community sector provides to Canberrans in need.

"It will ensure Uniting Care Kippax, The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Foodbank and Ozharvest can meet increasing demand and help Canberrans to meet their essential needs."

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