The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has brokered a $50,000 Federal Government grant to assist Sustainable Living Tasmania continue its work in assisting Tasmanians to cope with crippling power bills.
The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, released details of the funding today after Mr Wilkie asked the Federal Government to provide a dedicated stream of funding to help the organisation give practical advice and assistance to ordinary Australians wanting to live more sustainably.
Mr Wilkie said the Labor-Green State Government’s budget cuts resulted in loss of support to Sustainable Living Tasmania, which after almost 40 years of helping Tasmanians had been forced to consider reducing its support to the community.
“Due to the sharp rises in electricity prices, it’s a fact now that many Tasmanians can’t afford their power bills and there are people out there who can’t afford to heat their homes this winter,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“Sustainable Living Tasmania is experiencing record demand this winter for its free advice service to people wanting to reduce their power bills, another sign that higher electricity prices are really biting.’’
Mr Wilkie said Sustainable Living Tasmania was another innocent victim of the Labor-Green State Government’s cost cutting after more than a decade of reckless spending on football teams and race tracks.
“The Labor-Green Government broke a promise to cap electricity price increases, has overseen massive increases in electricity prices and is now cutting funding to a group that is there to help people when they can no longer afford their power bills,’’ he said.
Todd Houstein of Sustainable Living Tasmania said the organisation’s free and impartial information and advice was becoming increasingly important and in demand with the rising costs of living and higher electricity, water and fuel prices.
“The majority of requests for information and advice have come from the general public, and pertained to household energy matters,’’ he said.
“ During the warmer months, there was an overall decrease in the volume of requests, and a higher proportion of requests pertained to non-energy matters such as gardening, recycling, and building.
“But now winter is upon us we are beginning to get more and more calls for help with power bills.’’
Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison