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Millions of Australians score $500 in energy relief in the federal budget


Millions of households will secure up to $500 in budget energy lighting to help cover the cost of skyrocketing bills.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has confirmed that the cost of living will be the centerpiece of the budget, but that it will be carefully crafted to ensure it doesn’t just fuel inflation.

And while he wouldn’t confirm details, some struggling families are expected to qualify for up to $500, depending on where they live.

“People get hundreds of dollars if they have pensions and (government) payments, or own a small business,” the treasurer said.

The bulk of energy aid will be aimed at elderly retirees and those on fixed incomes, including welfare benefits.

The amount of cash offered will vary from state to state and will be determined in part by how much electricity prices are and how much money the states are willing to contribute to supplement the Commonwealth’s contribution.

“So it will be different across the country, we’ve done eight different deals with different jurisdictions,” he told Sky News.

“But we hope and expect it will take some of the sting out of these price hikes that are straining families, households and small businesses.”

When the treasurer hands over the budget on Tuesday, it will include $1.5 billion in energy assistance for struggling families.

“More than 5.5 million households will get some help with their electricity bills, and about a million small businesses will also qualify, to take some of the edge off what are the main drivers of this pressure on the economy. cost of living,” said Dr Chalmers. ABC TV.

“People get hundreds of dollars if they have a pension and benefits, or own a small business, but depending on where you live, depending on what the price pressures are, depending on how much the states and territories are willing to kick in, because this is a co-invest with them.”

Tax increases for oil and gas

On Sunday, the Albanian government also confirmed a $2.4 billion increase in the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax to be paid by oil and gas companies.

The changes to the PRRT are effective July 1 and will raise more than $2 billion over four years.

“Australians are more likely to get a fairer return on their resources and what this change means is about $2.4 billion in the future estimates that the gas companies wouldn’t pay, the offshore LNG projects wouldn’t pay were it not for this change” said the treasurer.

“This means more burden on these projects. And it means it can help fund our package of living expenses and other budget priorities.

Surprise surplus

The treasurer made a Freudian slip in an interview on Sunday when he launched a pre-budget media blitz, referring to “the surplus” when the budget is currently in deficit.

There has been widespread speculation that the budget could return to the black, but the surplus will be short-lived.

The treasurer has admitted that the employees will have to wait another year before their wages exceed the rising cost of living.

And the big driver behind the turnaround in the budget is employment, not commodity prices.

“That’s a common misconception about budget improvement,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Resources are an important part of the story, but not the main part of the story – only about a fifth of the improvement is due to higher commodity prices.

“Improvements in the labor market, lower unemployment and higher wage growth are the biggest contributors – 40 percent – [while] 20 percent are commodity prices.”

$20,000 small business tax credit

Small and medium-sized businesses that invest in equipment to lower their energy bills can qualify for up to $20,000 in tax credits.

The Small Business Energy Incentive will help 3.7 million businesses across Australia.

Under the scheme, companies with sales of up to $50 million will receive a tax break to invest in converting their heating and cooling systems from gas to electricity.

“This incentive is all about helping small businesses conserve energy and save on their utility bills; support that comes in addition to direct relief from small business energy bills, which will be a centerpiece of the budget,” the treasurer said.

“We want to see more incredible success stories from small companies like LSKD making the leap into the big league.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.