Federal Budget 2019: At least one budget measure is guaranteed

One thing is guaranteed in this Budget, but it may or may not influence the way Australians will vote.

It’s the one-off energy rebate announced last weekend.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg re-affirmed last night that the Government would provide $284 million for a one-off, income tax-exempt payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples for more than 3.9 million eligible social security payment recipients to assist with their next power bill and cost-of-living expenses.

“This payment will be paid this financial year and comes on top of other actions the Government has taken to reduce power bills,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the $75 one-off payment for single pensioners to help with their power bills as a “dividend” of stronger economic growth.

“Our Government has the lowest growth in commonwealth public expenditure of any government in 50 years,” the Prime Minister told The Australian.

“It’s been about keeping expenditure under control and it’s been about supporting the growth in the Australian economy and getting Australians off welfare and into work … In each of the budgets I handed down and the final budget outcome, they have all proved to be stronger than what I announced on budget night. We believe it’s only fair, it’s only fair that we share that dividend with Australians who need it most.”

Rapid rises in energy costs have been a bugbear for older Australians in recent years. Senior economist with The Australia Institute Matt Grudnoff said domestic fuel and power costs had been running above CPI since December 2008. The burden on most households, but especially on older Australians on full Age Pensions, has been – and continues to be – fierce.

The $284.4 million for energy assistance payments will go to age and disability support pensioners, recipients of the carer payment and veterans and their dependents receiving eligible payments from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Are you pleased with the one-off payment? Will it have a significant effect on your upcoming bills?

Written by Janelle Ward

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