Victorians waking up to a new financial year will be faced with a host of price increases, as the government launches a new scheme designed to ease cost-of-living pressures.
Australia continues to grapple with inflation, with consumer prices surging 5.1 per cent over the past year.
Mortgage repayments are set to increase as well, with most major banks hiking their variable interest rates by 0.25 per cent yesterday. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia lifted its fixed-rate home loan repayments by 1.4 per cent.
Changes are on the way, nationally, that will affect everything from the minimum wage and superannuation to power bills and Centrelink.
However, in Victoria, the start of the 2022-23 financial year is bringing a host of new or higher costs, along with a new, $250 million electricity comparison scheme.
Here’s what’s changing from today:
You can get $250 just for comparing your power bills
Victorians are now able to access a one-off $250 payment designed to encourage households to compare deals from energy providers.
Households will need to have a recent residential electricity bill, and visit the Victorian Energy Compare website to apply for the payment.
The program has been budgeted at $250 million, with Premier Daniel Andrews hopeful that Victorians use up all of the one million allotted payments.
“This is direct action to take some of the cost-of-living pressures off families in our state,” Mr Andrews said.
The Premier said seven out of 10 Victorians who visit the website save an average of $330 a year on power bills.
This initiative comes as Victorian Default Offer prices on electricity increase from today.
The offer — set by the Essential Services Commission (ESC) — provides a fair default price to Victorians unable or unwilling to engage in the retail market.
According to the commission, price increases driven by rising wholesale costs will see the average annual bill for both residential and small business default offer customers increase by about 5 per cent.
Council rates are rising across the state
Council rates across Victoria are set to rise by 1.75 per cent from today.
Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane announced a 1.75 per cent cap on rate rises in January.
The ESC said no council in Victoria has applied to raise its rates higher than the cap in 2022-23.
That rate rise represents an additional 0.25 per cent increase when compared to the 1.5 per cent rate rise in the 2021-22 financial year.
Residents should note that rate caps apply to the average rate in each municipality, with individual rate bills differing due to factors such as property value and classification.
Water bills will be more expensive
Victorians will now be paying more for water, with regional residents to be hit the hardest.
Residents living in metropolitan areas can expect an increase of around 1 per cent, or $10, to their annual bill.
Regional Victorians will face an average increase of 4 per cent, or $45, on their water bills.
ESC’s price monitoring executive director, Marcus Crudden, said the increases came as a part of long-term planning.
“These price rises were part of decisions made several years ago,” Mr Curdden said.
“But the current price rises are less than the current rate of inflation, and water bills have generally been flat or even falling in recent years.”
Mr Crudden said regional water authorities were passing on costs associated with servicing fewer customers over a larger area.
Shepparton residents serviced by Goulburn Valley Water will have the smallest increase, at $16 dollars a year, while residents serviced by South Gippsland Water will cop the heaviest increase, having to pay an extra $64.
Toll roads will cost you more, and so will fines
Motorists using the CityLink will see tolls rise just over 1 per cent from tomorrow.
CityLink tolls are due to escalate every quarter from now until June 2029 by the same amount, equivalent to 4.25 per cent per annum.
Meanwhile, the average cost of a trip on the EastLink will rise by 2.7 per cent.
The EastLink toll increase will remain in place until June 30, 2023.
It comes as fuel prices break the $2-a-litre mark across the country, with a government excise reduction due to expire in September.
Fines in Victoria will also cost more after a scheduled rise from July 1.
The values of both fee and penalty units will rise by around 1.72 per cent.
From today, the value of a fee unit will be $15.29, while the value of a penalty unit will rise to $184.92.