Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) has made a submission to Victoria’s Department of Treasury and Finance during the 2018-19 Pre-Budget period. Consumer Action has focused this submission on areas where budget action could make an immediate and discernible difference to the lives of Victorians on low and middle incomes, and those Victorians experiencing acute vulnerability.
This year, the Budget will be released on 1 May 2018, this being the last Budget in this term of Parliament. The three initiatives presented in the submission are:
- The establishment of a fair, independent and accessible Retirement Housing Ombudsman to resolve disputes between residents and housing operators. Not only is this a reform demanded by older Victorians and housing experts, but was recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Retirement Housing Sector, tabled almost a year ago on 7 March 2017.
- Lifting the maximum value of the Utility Relief Grant (URG) from $500 to $750, to give low income Victorians immediate relief with their energy bills, and reforming the application process to ensure that taxpayer money goes to the customer, not the energy retailer. Despite spiralling electricity and gas prices, the URGs cap has not increased since 2010.
- A specialist service to assist the resolution of disputes when a defective, lemon car is purchased, along with the provision of a free expert report solves a critical problem that hurts families and is a drain on productivity. The Government’s Access to Justice review in 2016 recognised this problem and presented a sensible idea that should be developed.
180227 State Budget Submission 2018-19