Page 3002 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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MS BURCH: The move to DisabilityCare has been, I think, well articulated. We have a number of launch sites already now in play, and we will certainly join that in July of next year. One of the fundamental thrusts of this is to give choice and control to individuals and their families and also to, in many ways, take out the inequity out of the different systems operating in different states and jurisdictions. It is about fair and reasonable access to support for all, no matter where you live.


MS BERRY: My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer please outline for the Assembly the concessions contained in the 2013-14 budget to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question. The 2013-14 territory budget provides a significant range of concessions for households, most notably in the areas of energy and utilities, general rates, fire and emergency services, drivers licence and motor vehicle registration fees, public transport fares and the ACTION gold card. Concessions are also available to meet the cost of spectacles, the energy costs of life-support equipment, the taxi subsidy scheme and energy and water efficiency programs.

The 2013-14 budget increases the concession rebate on electricity bills by 10 per cent and the rebate on other utility bills by 2.5 per cent. The two rebates combined save 25,000 eligible households over $400 per year.

The 2013-14 budget also provides assistance to first homebuyers through the increase in the first homebuyers grant from $7,000 to $12½ thousand. Eligible purchasers will also have access to the homebuyer concession scheme. This reduces stamp duty to as low as $20 for some households.

Households also receive assistance in the 2013-14 budget through the provision of affordable housing programs. These are in addition to the provision of public housing for people who have difficulty obtaining housing in the private market or who have special needs. In the 2013-14 budget, $133 million is provided to cover the gap between the market rent of public housing stock and the amount which tenants are charged.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Can the Treasurer outline how the ACT government targets its concessions program.

MR BARR: The government’s cost of living support concessions program is targeted at those who need it most. Concession programs help offset the cost of living pressures for some of the lowest income households in the territory, particularly targeting those in the lowest income quartile. These programs are designed as a safety net for Canberrans.

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