With coronavirus taking over almost everything in recent weeks, and heated debate surrounding government “inaction”, some good news has just been announced for Western Australians.
In response to a rising number of cases in the state, WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced all household fees and charges will be frozen as part of an economic relief package to tackle the coronavirus emergency.
The WA government has announced that household charges including electricity, water and vehicle registration will remain unchanged until at least July 2021, to reduce the financial blow caused by coronavirus.
With social distancing becoming an important safety measure to stop the spread of coronavirus, many people are getting less work, particularly in the entertainment and hospitality industries. The stimulus package aims to reduce hard-hitting financial hardships on households and pensioners and will be worth a grand total of $607 million. It will mean electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares in the state will not increase for over a year. In the announcement, Premier Mark McGowan stated:
“For the first time in 16 years all household fees and charges will be frozen, providing relief and certainty to each and every West Australian. Previously the budget included an increase of $127 or 2 per cent in fees and charges, which was the estimated inflation rate for 2020–21. By keeping everything frozen that will cost the budget $402 million.”
On top of this, $114 million will be spent to help small to medium-sized business stay afloat, with up to 7,400 businesses benefitting from the grants.
Mr McGowan said the measures would provide relief to West Australian families, seniors and business owners.
“These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures. We are in a state of emergency in Australia. We not only need to deal with the health consequences of the coronavirus, but we also need to deal with the economic impacts as well. As a responsible Government we must respond and we must provide certainty to both businesses and to households.”
A step in the right direction for the WA government, but will other states follow suit?