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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5330 ..

earn. As a matter of policy, Housing ACT would always deem a person to be able to earn the appropriate Centrelink benefits, and grant a rebate based on that income.

(3) See answer to (2) above. If the person is earning an income from wages below that of the appropriate Centrelink rate, they will be deemed at that rate. If they are self-employed, they will be deemed as earning the appropriate award.

Actew pensioner rebates

(Question No 1123)

Mr Cornwell asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In relation to a Letter-to-the-Editor appearing in The Canberra Times, 20 November 2003 titled Power Puzzle and the claims that ACTEW concessions to pensioners have been reduced:

(1) Have ACTEW pensioner rebates fallen over the last 18 months to 2 years, and if so, why;

(2) Have ACTEW pensioner rebates been adjusted to reflect increases in the CPI over the last 2 years, and if so, what are those adjustments. If not, why not;

(3) Have the ACTEW rebates for pensioners decreased from approximately (a) 26% for August 2002 accounts, (b) 7.9% for May 2003 accounts and (c) 0% for November 2003 accounts. If so, why.

(4) If the answer to (3) above is negative, then what are the actual percentage amounts for ACTEW rebates for pensioners at the dates listed at (a), (b) and (c) above;

(5) Have Veteran Gold Cardholders been affected also and if so, how and why.

Mr Wood

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) ACT residents who are in receipt of a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card or Veteran's Affairs Pensioner Concession Card or a DVA Gold Card are currently eligible for a rebate of up to $151.38 per annum on their electricity. This amount has not decreased over the last two years.

(2) No. Pensioner rebates have not been adjusted to reflect increases in the CPI. However, rebate increases have in the past been requested when the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission raises utility prices. Rebates have previously been increased by a similar percentage to the price increases, to ensure those entitled to rebates are not unduly disadvantaged by the price increases.

(3) Rebates have not decreased for the periods quoted. While the maximum payable in any one year is $151.38, the maximum rebate paid per bill is 50% of the bill. The previous amount claimed in the year and the amount of the particular bill will affect the rebate paid per bill. The amount of rebate paid in each bill may, therefore, be different, but the total rebate over a twelve month period will add up to $151.38 regardless.

(4) See answer to (3) above.

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