Households will pay almost $130 a year extra for a raft of services including power and water but Treasurer Ben Wyatt has defended the increase as the lowest for more than a decade.
Handing down his third State Budget in Parliament today, Mr Wyatt revealed electricity prices would rise by 1.75 per cent – or an average $30.80 – a year from July 1, taking the typical household bill to almost $1800.
Water, sewerage and drainage charges will go up at a higher rate of 2.5 per cent – or about $43 – meaning the average annual bill will total about $1780.
The cost of running a car will also increase to almost $900 a year, with car registrations and third party and no-fault insurance premiums rising by an average 2.6 per cent.
Public transport costs will increase by a modest 2 per cent for standard fares, while students will avoid any increase in prices.
After the Opposition called for fees and charges to be frozen next financial year to spare households any further financial pain, Mr Wyatt said the Government had decided to go ahead with increases that were the lowest in 13 years.
The Treasurer also stressed that keeping charges on hold would only lead to bill shock for households in later years as the Government sought to catch up with the rising costs of providing services.
And he sought to make a virtue out of the Government’s decisions, saying increases to power costs next year would be just a fraction of what was assumed in last year’s Budget.
He said this decision alone would come at a $59.4 million cost to the Budget’s bottom line in 2019-20, rising to about $280 million across the forward estimates.
Lower overall increases in household fees and charges would cost more than $300 million out to the final year of the budget in 2022-23.
A reduction in the rate of utility price rises comes after the Government took flack for hiking power tariffs by a whopping 10.9 per cent in its first Budget and 7 per cent last year.
Premier Mark McGowan, addressing the media this morning ahead of the Budget’s tabling in Parliament this afternoon, said the softer approach had been allowed by the Government’s fiscal discipline.
The Treasurer confirmed today that he would post a $533 million surplus for the current financial year – two years ahead of schedule and the first for five years.
“West Australians will be the first to benefit from our responsible financial management with the lowest rise in fees and charges in 13 years,” the Premier said.
“We have made the decision to keep electricity prices tied at the rate of inflation – the first time that has happened in more than a decade.”