The Household Assistance Package helps low and middle income households take action on climate change without unduly bearing any costs. This assistance will mean:
- more than 50 per cent of the carbon price revenue will be used to assist households
- all assistance will be permanent and increase over time
- all low-income households will be eligible for assistance that at least offsets their expected average price impact from the carbon price
- middle-income households will be eligible for assistance that helps them meet their expected average price impact, and
- households with people who have a relevant concession card and face higher essential electricity costs due to medical condition or disability will be eligible for additional assistance.
Pensions and allowances
From 20 March 2013, pensioners and current allowees commenced receiving the Clean Energy Supplement with their regular payment. The supplement will be equivalent to a 1.7 per cent increase in the maximum rate of their pension and indexed to CPI.
Assistance for families
Families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A will receive an increase in their payment equivalent to 1.7 per cent of the annual rate of payment. This is worth up to $110 per child per year.
All families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part B will get an increase to their payment equivalent to 1.7 per cent of the maximum rate. This is worth up to $69 per family per year.
This assistance was first delivered through a one-off, tax exempt, lump sum Clean Energy Advance from May-June 2012.
After this, increases are being delivered as a separate Clean Energy Supplement which is paid as part of families’ regular payment cycles.
People in low-income family households who do not receive sufficient assistance as an increase to their payment or through the tax system will also be able to claim a new Low Income Supplement of $300. The supplement will be claimed through Centrelink.
Further assistance will be made available to middle-income family households with one primary earner to account for the fact they will only benefit from one earner’s tax cuts. These families will receive assistance as an increase to their payment through the Single Income Family Supplement of $300. Families not receiving Family Tax Benefit will be able to claim the supplement through Centrelink.
Essential Medical Equipment Payment
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is being introduced as part of the Household Assistance Package.
This payment of $143 per year will assist eligible people who experience additional increases in home energy costs under a carbon price as a result of the need to operate essential medical equipment in their home, or medically required heating/cooling, to manage their disability or medical condition.
The payment will be available to people with medical needs, or their carers who:
- are covered by a Commonwealth Government concession card, or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold or White Card; and
- use certain essential medical equipment in their home, or have certain medical conditions that require the use of additional heating and/or cooling; and
- contribute to the payment of the energy account.
Applications for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment opened on 18 June 2012, with payments commencing on 1 July 2012.
Self-funded retirees who have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will receive the same level of assistance as pensioners. Assistance will be provided to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders in two stages.
From 20 March 2013, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will be eligible for assistance delivered through the quarterly, tax exempt Clean Energy Supplement. The supplement will be equivalent to a 1.7 per cent increase in the maximum rate of the pension and indexed to CPI. The Clean Energy Supplement will be paid with the existing Seniors Supplement.
The Government is preparing legislation to abolish the carbon tax and will shortly commence consultation on the development of the Emissions reduction Fund.
Further information on the process of abolishing the carbon tax and design of the Emissions Reduction Fund will be available shortly on the department’s website at www.environment.gov.au.