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Government delivers on climate and fairness

UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds. Photo by Mardi Lumsden
UnitingCare Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s clean energy legislation which will be tabled in the Parliament today, and encourages all politicians of goodwill to support the Bills.

National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said the legislation will help shift Australia to a low carbon future, while helping low income Australia adjust to the change.

“We support this action to reduce carbon pollution. Not only does it promise a brighter future for the planet, it will help disadvantaged and vulnerable Australians who are already suffering the effects of climate change who will carry more of the share of the costs of climate change into the future,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said. “Low-income Australians spend a greater percentage of their income on energy costs.

“The lowest income households spend up to 12 per cent of their income on energy, whilst high income households spend less than 3 per cent.

“The lowest income households can’t afford to retrofit and buy new technology to cut their energy use. Higher income households can invest in new technology and some are already benefitting financially from this investment, through feed-in tariffs and lowered costs of living.

“This legislation will permanently increase allowances, pensions and family benefits to more than cover the average cost of living impact.

“Initial upfront payments, followed by fortnightly payments, will greatly assist households on tight budgets to better manage cost of living increases.

“Payments to most households will be provided as an upfront lump sum before the carbon price takes effect. Fortnightly payments will begin in March 2013 for pensions and most allowances, July 2013 for family payments and January 2014 for student on Youth Allowance. These payments will increase with indexation.

“And we are pleased to see the government has recognised that essential social services, especially those that provide residential care to older people, people living with disabilities and children in out of home care, are exposed to significant cost increases as a result of a price on carbon. We are working with the government to ensure these cost impacts are properly quantified and recognised in funding arrangements”, Ms Hatfield Dodds said.

The UnitingCare network provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare has 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers.

Photo : UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds. Photo by Mardi Lumsden