Utility price hike to raise cost of living

The annual cost of living for the average NSW household will rise by up to $330 from today, as utility prices lift across the board.


Residential customers in city and regional areas will pay more for electricity, gas and water, and also face higher registration fees for most on-road vehicles in the new financial year.

On the plus side, home buyers in Australia’s most populous state won’t have to pay stamp duty on new dwellings bought off the plan worth up to $600,000, businesses will get payroll tax concessions and all taxpayers will get national income tax cuts.

In dollar terms the greatest impact on household budgets will be electricity bills, which are set to increase by up to 13 per cent across the state.

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has allowed the rises, saying service providers need to increase investment in infrastructure to improve network security and reliability of supply.

Customers of Country Energy will see the biggest hike, with the annual average bill to increase by $183 from July 1.

Gas bills will also jump by up to 13 per cent, with regional customers expected to be hit hardest.

Customers of Origin Energy will pay about 13 per cent more, or an extra $49 a year on average, while those with NSW’s major gas supplier, AGL, will see hikes of about five per cent, or $33 a year on average.

“We consider that these increases are required if customers are to pay the independently assessed, efficient costs of providing them with gas,” IPART acting chairman Jim Cox said when the rises were announced last week.

The average household water bill will also increase by seven per cent, including inflation.

Sydney Water customers in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra, on average annual water usage of 200,000 litres, will pay $68 more a year from July 1.

Meanwhile, vehicle owners face a new NSW government motor vehicle weight charge, which will cost between $5 and $30 extra a year for cars weighing more than 975kg.

The charge is being introduced as part of Premier Kristina Keneally’s $50.2 billion Metropolitan Transport Plan and has been slammed by regional drivers using larger vehicles for long-distance driving.

As well, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is expected to increase the cost of vehicle fees – including registration, licensing and fines – in the new financial year although details are still to be announced.

In the property sector, buying a home worth more than $500,000 will attract a new fee from July 1, with the introduction of the NSW government’s ad valorem tax.

Properties sold for between $500,000 and $1 million will cost an extra 0.2 per cent in fees, while $1 million-plus properties will attract a levy of 0.25 per cent.

But the state government will abolish stamp duty for new homes bought off the plan up to the value of $600,000, as part of a two-year scheme to stimulate new home construction – a saving of up to $22,490.

New homes worth up to $600,000 bought while under construction and newly completed will pay 25 per cent less stamp duty – a saving of up to $5,623.

Business payroll tax cuts also come into effect, down to 5.5 per cent, from 5.65 per cent, from July 1, before falling to 5.45 per cent by January 1, 2011.


Comments are closed.