Posted on 26. May, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government must rethink its heartless decision to axe funding for a program that provides assistance to low-income Victorians to repair or replace essential appliances, Shadow Minister for Cost of Living Lily D’Ambrosio said today.

“Mr Baillieu’s choice to axe the Home Wise Hardship Grant program is shameful,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Home Wise is an important program that provides no-cost assistance to low-income Victorians who cannot afford to repair or replace essential faulty appliances such as hot water services, wall heaters, refrigerators, washing machines, generators, wall heaters, leaking water pipes, upright stoves, water tanks, toilets and leaking gas pipes.

“The Government’s explanation that the program is being replaced by a new scheme for water and energy efficient appliances for low income households is nothing more than spin and will leave many low-income households in the cold.

“While a move to energy-efficient items is welcome, why does it have to be at the expense of the Home Wise program, which also covers funding for fixtures, not just appliances?

“And, in times of emergency, how will the new program assist low-income households?”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Government must explain what had happened to those families who had submitted incomplete applications for Home Wise as at 3 May, 2011.

“Have these families now been left out in the cold?” she said.

“In 2009-10, Labor provided $17.6 million for Home Wise grants, compared to the $2.5 million allocated annually to the Baillieu Government’s replacement program.

“The Government’s rebate program leaves a significant cost gap to be met by families who can least afford it, and is completely unacceptable.

“It’s time Mr Baillieu rethinks his choice to dump the Home Wise Hardship Grant program and ensures low-income Victorians continue to have access to the support they need.”






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