Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Hon Christian Porter BA(Hons) BEc LLB(UWA) MSc(Dist)(LSE) MLA

Former Treasurer; Attorney General

Hon Peter Collier BA DipEd MLC

Hon Peter Collier BA DipEd MLC

Former Minister for Education; Aboriginal Affairs; Electoral Affairs

Hon Robyn McSweeney BA JP MLC

Hon Robyn McSweeney BA JP MLC

Former Minister for Child Protection; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Women's Interests; Youth

    State Budget 2012-13: Supporting our Community - Assistance for WA Families

    17/05/2012 12:00 AM
    • $286million over 4 years for Cost of Living Assistance to low income families
    • $63million over 4 years for child protection services
    • $58.5million over 4 years for child health nurses
    The State Government has introduced a new Cost of Living Assistance (CoLA) payment worth $286million over the next four years to help low income Western Australian families with their electricity bills.

    Treasurer Christian Porter said about 348,000 households with a concession card (about one-third of all WA households) would be eligible for a payment of $200 per year off their electricity bill under this new initiative in the 2012-13 State Budget.

    Mr Porter said this payment would increase to an estimated $254 by 2015-16.

    “The Liberal-National Government is acutely aware of the difficulties facing many families with cost of living expenses,” he said.

    “It is in recognition of these difficulties that we have committed to this new CoLA payment to assist families and householders with their electricity bills.”

    Energy Minister Peter Collier said in addition to the new CoLA payment, the Government had increased the allocation to the Hardship Utilities Grants Scheme (HUGS) in 2012-13 by $7.6million to a total of $11.7million.

    “The HUGS scheme has seen a 200 per cent increase in funding allocation since the 2008-09 Budget and this additional funding will help even more families and individuals in utility hardship,” he said.

    Mr Porter said the Liberal-National Government had also allocated $65million over the forward estimates period to assist eligible WA families with dependent children in the form of the Dependent Child Rebate (DCR).

    The Treasurer said that, similar to the CoLA payment, the DCR is a per bill rebate, with the value of the rebate increasing with the number of dependent children.

    “For example, eligible households with two dependent children will receive a total concession payment of $507 in 2012-13, comprising the $200 CoLA payment and a $307 DCR payment,” he said.

    “This increases to $634 for eligible households with four dependent children.”

    Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney said the State Government had also pledged an extra $15million in this Budget and $63million over the next four years to address increasing demand for child protection services.

    “At any one time there are up to 3,700 children in the care of the Department for Child Protection,” Mrs McSweeney said.

    “We are committed to making sure there is support for these children as well as providing funding for complementary services to help ‘at risk’ families to get back on track.”

    The Treasurer said the Government would also continue its commitment to families with the establishment of 10 Child and Parent Centres at selected Government schools in vulnerable communities at a total cost of $29million.

    “The Government is also investing $4million to upgrade the 70 family and child care centres it owns and operates,” he said.

    This is in addition to $58.5million allocated by the Government over the next four years for additional child and school nurses to deliver child health checks.

    As well as this initiative, Mr Porter said WA families would benefit from upgraded facilities, including a children’s playground at Perth Zoo after $1.5million was allocated in the 2012-13 State Budget.

    “This Budget is testament to the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to providing more and better support initiatives to WA families than ever before,” Mr Porter said.

          Fact File
    • Department of Child Protection’s budget has increased 52.1% over the period 2008-09 to 2012-13
    • Department of Communities’ budget has increased 51% over the same period
    • In the 2011-12 State Budget, the State Govt provided $604m to the not-for-profit sector to provide quality services to those most in need
    • WA Budget statements are available at http://ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au

    Treasurer's office  - 6552 5600