WATER

State and Territory assistance

Australian Capital Territory


The government will contribute up to $250,000 to a new fund to assist households severely impacted by COVID-19. Details on how the fund will operate are yet to be announced.The Government will freeze the Utilities Network Facilities Tax (paid by utility providers), which is expected to lead to savings for customers. Resource: ACT Economic survival package.




New South Wales


  • No extra rebates or concessions have been announced for people financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • A range of rebates and support are already available. Service NSW has a savings finder that explains what savings are available and the eligibility.




Northern Territory


No specific assistance announced on utilities




Queensland


Queensland households will receive a $200 rebate to help offset the costs of electricity and water. The rebate will be automatically credited to electricity bills from April 2020 (regional Queensland) and May 2020 (south-east Queensland). Only households who receive a separate electricity bill will be eligible.

Resource:

Queensland Government: COVID-19 household utility relief.




South Australia


No specific extra assistance has been announced.




Tasmania


No specific extra assistance has been announced.




Victoria


No specific extra assistance has been announced.




Western Australia


There have been announcements about a freezing of household bills and a relief package with regard to the costs of power and water.

Resource:

WA Government Stimulus




What do the changes mean?


  • Your client should be able to make an affordable repayment arrangement and not be threatened with disconnection or have their supply restricted during the immediate pandemic crisis
  • Your clients should continue to pay what they can afford towards their bills
  • Water is still a high priority payment so it is important to get an affordable repayment arrangement in place




What do you do differently?


  • Do refer to the National Cabinet expectations (if required) in dealing with your client’s water provider
  • Do check the website of your client’s water provider to see if additional assistance is available
  • Do consider the energy and water ombudsman in your State or Territory if a hardship arrangement cannot be agreed. However, if disconnection or supply restriction is not threatened then you may want to save the option of lodging a dispute for later. Do stress to your client the importance of keeping up affordable payments





Disclaimer: The information on this website is for financial counsellors only. It is general information only. Financial counsellors must still tailor advice to their client’s individual circumstances. 

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FCA sincerely thanks Kat Lane. Liz Minter and Melinda Rene for their outstanding work in putting this site together.