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Concessions for SA battlers to be indexed

AAP logoAAP 11/12/2016 Marnie Banger

Support for some South Australians on low incomes will soon keep pace with inflation, with the state government set to index utility-related concessions.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says the government's mid-year budget review includes $14.5 million over the forward estimates for the annual indexation of the concessions, designed to help people pay their utility bills, from July 2017.

The change means eligible households could receive up to $54 more in annual concession payments by 2019-20.

Mr Koutsantonis says this is the first time concessions will be indexed in SA and it will affect at least 200,000 pensioners, retirees and low-income earners.

"While we have seen prices of household water and gas come down in recent months, there is no doubt that South Australians are feeling cost-of-living pressures, particularly those on fixed incomes," he said in a statement.

"Indexing the cost of living, energy, water and sewerage concessions to ensure they increase each year in line with CPI is another way we can ease pressures on these South Australians."

The SA Council of Social Service, which has long argued for the move, said it will avoid the need to constantly demand support payments be topped up.

"We know that many members of the community are struggling at this point in time," executive director Ross Womersley said.

"We also know that price increases, particularly in relation to electricity, have outstripped income growth.

"This measure will help many families offset those increases over time."

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