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Community Services and Development – Energy Costs

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Tags: Cost of Living, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you, Chair. Minister, on energy poverty and TasCOSS Charlie Burton was very clear about this being such a priority issue and yes, there are things being done, but one of the hallmarks of your Government in general is individualising the response to these things, rather than looking at the systemic structural changes that would really make a difference to people overall. That would be a CPI -

Mr STREET - That is your opinion.

CHAIR - Minister, can you please let Dr Woodruff ask the question.

Dr WOODRUFF - That is my opinion, which is why I am asking the question. The CPI cap has been done before. We know it works. TasCOSS knows it works. It is something that would make a real difference and the 12 per cent increase in electricity prices over the last year, is just an average. Those of us who are more able to afford heat pumps and better-quality houses, better insulated houses have a far less price increase than people who are living in poorly constructed houses with bad quality heating, without heat pumps having to pay far more than that amount of money. Do you support a cap on electricity price increases for people when it is this greatest part of their bills?

Mr STREET - The Government's been clear we are not going to cap energy prices. What we have done is invest $45 million in partnership with the federal government to provide significant bill relief. $250 this year and $250 next year for up to 140 000 households in Tasmania, which is a significant contribution. They will also contribute $650 towards businesses suffering from these price shocks. I support the Government's policy position, I also am very proud of the investment we are making, along with the federal government into providing bill relief.

Dr WOODRUFF - Is there a direction from the Government to Aurora where people with great need will not have their electricity cut off?

Mr STREET - You would have to ask the shareholder minister. I am not aware of such a direction, but that does not mean it does not exist either.

Dr WOODRUFF - Right. It would be -

Mr STREET - That would be a matter for Mr Barnett, as the shareholder minister for Aurora as to whether that has taken place or not.

Dr WOODRUFF - You funded some energy saver loan schemes for energy efficiency upgrades, can you please just tell me how much it is because I know Homes Tasmania is not your portfolio. There are still people living with energy efficiency poverty. It is of the top order most effective spend a government can make in terms of reducing the cost of people's electricity bill. How much have you actually put into this?

Mr STREET - That fund that you are referring to sits within RecFIT and so, a responsibility of Mr Barnett, not of me.