Editor’s Desk: Is $700 in power credits the best way for Governments to help ease cost-of-living crisis?

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Power credits will just be the cherry on the cake for some people.
Camera IconPower credits will just be the cherry on the cake for some people. Credit: The Nightly

Let me just say this right from the outset — $700 is nothing to turn your nose up at.

Believe me when I say by writing this column, I’m not comparing the power credits given to all households this week in the State and Federal budgets to something my fussy cat would walk away from in his bowl.

But the double dose of Budget (or election) sweetener does beg the question: was it really the best way to help ease cost-of-living pressures and get relief to those who really need it?

Most people will welcome the power credits (like me) even if they didn’t really need it (like me).

For years now, I have set up a direct debit for a small amount to come out each week to help pay off my power bill. Which means, combined with three previous State Government $400 offsets, my electricity account is still in credit.

This time around I would have much preferred some relief to my water bills after my reticulation has guzzled up copious amount of H2O during summer and a dry autumn.

It might be easier said than done, but arguably more people would have welcomed some relief to their skyrocketing grocery bills or to see the actual cost of electricity go down rather than another power credit which can’t be transferred for use elsewhere.

Of course Governments are in a catch-22 and need to be careful about not increasing inflation, either.

But we can’t be picky and don’t get me wrong, this $700 is going to come in handy and be a godsend for countless households, but to many others it’s going to be a nice little cherry on top of a cake that’s not really needed.

The comfortable and the rich won’t need this $700 but they’ll still get it. Those households who have transitioned to solar won’t need the $700 but will still get it.

It might be much easier said than done, but why can’t this cost-of-living relief be more targeted in order to reach those who are really struggling to make ends meet?

Still talking about the Budget, the only significant Mid West-centric allocation was an extra $43 million for the Geraldton Health Campus upgrade.

Nearly six months on from the contract being awarded to Multiplex and we are yet to see any work on the ground.

This is a project that seriously needs to get going in the second half of this year, especially in a political sense for the Labor Government because it will influence many votes come the March 2025 election.

Given the price tag when this project was first promised in 2017 was $73 million, which has since been bumped up to $122 million and now $166m, it makes you wonder what the total cost blowout will be when all is said and done.

That’s supposed to be in 2027 and by that stage, given the current climate, we could be talking about a tripling of the initial costs.

Still, no one can argue it’s a project that’s needed. They just wish it would get moving.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails