Pom in Oz with Derek Goforth: Why my sense of relief over governments’ $700 power credits quickly evaporated

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
Power credits feel like a vote-buying exercise.
Camera IconPower credits feel like a vote-buying exercise. Credit: Dean Alston/The West Australian

My initial reaction to the news about the combined $700 in electricity credits from the State and Federal governments was relief. After all, any help with rising energy bills is a welcome respite.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to question why I should feel grateful for something that on closer inspection seems more like a band aid on a much larger wound.

It is akin to being overcharged for a car and then being offered free floor mats as compensation. The free mats might be nice, but they do nothing to address the fact that I’ve paid far too much for the car in the first place. And the salesperson expects me to tip my cap and look happy for my “gift”.

Every month, I watch my bills climb higher, as well as my groceries, water, rates, fuel — everything. This credit feels like a distraction rather than a solution. It’s a way for the governments to avoid tackling the real problems — like the inefficiencies and lack of investment in sustainable energy.

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This $700 is not some magical gift. It’s my money — our money — being returned to us in a different form. Governments doesn’t generate wealth, they redistribute the taxes we pay. So, essentially, they’re giving me back a fraction of what I’ve already contributed. Do you ever read our local pollies’ social media posts where they tell us how they’re spending our money but always make it sound that it’s somehow coming out of their pockets?

And let’s not ignore the timing. With elections just around the corner, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this $700 credit is less about genuine help and more about buying votes.

There’s also the troubling idea that such handouts could foster dependency. I don’t want to live in a society where people are pacified with periodic financial aids instead of being empowered to seek and demand lasting changes.

Beyond my personal situation, this kind of financial aid fails to address the broader socio-economic issues that contribute to why people struggle with their bills in the first place — inadequate wages, rising living costs, or the lack of a robust social safety net.

Finally, the question of fairness. How is this $700 being distributed? Is it reaching the people who need it most? I can’t help but wonder if this money could be better spent on comprehensive policies that ensure everyone has access to affordable energy, rather than piecemeal handouts that might not even be reaching the most vulnerable.

I can’t bring myself to see this $700 credit as anything more than a superficial gesture. Instead of gratitude, I feel a renewed determination to demand better — from my Government and for my community.

Derek Goforth is an expat and father of three living in Geraldton

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