Discounts bill comes to $2.8b
Benefits: The WA Seniors Card. Picture: The West Australian

The Barnett Government will spend $2.8 billion on concessions, rebates, discounts and subsidies next year across almost every area of government service delivery.

The concessions - ranging from subsidies for all consumers of electricity, water and public transport to discounts for holders of seniors, pension and healthcare cards - have been tallied for the first time by State Treasury ahead of a landmark review that aims to rationalise the spending.

Treasurer Mike Nahan hopes to have the review completed in time for next year's Budget as the Government tries to ensure the spending, which accounts for one in every $10 of State revenue, is affordable, simple and equitable. The Government spends $1110.50 on concessions for every West Australian.

Treasury defines concessions as discounts, rebates and subsidies based on age, income, special needs or disadvantage and prices charged for government services that are less than the full cost of service provision.

More than $2 billion of the spending is subsidies for electricity, water, public transport and training. About $430 million is seniors concessions.

The West Australian can reveal details of the concessions spending as the Government confirmed it will not replace $25 million of Commonwealth funding for seniors axed by the Federal Government in Joe Hockey's Budget last month.

Seniors Minister Tony Simpson told State Parliament yesterday that cuts would be made, but he promised to "quarantine" holders of Commonwealth pensioner concession and healthcare cards from the cuts, which are yet to be decided.

Mr Simpson foreshadowed possible changes to the WA Seniors Card, which allows discounts on local government rates, electricity and water charges.

WA Council of Social Service chief executive Irina Cattalini said there was a case for rationalising concessions but she did not want total spending on them to fall.

"We know that they are failing the tests for adequacy, because there are growing numbers of people in financial hardship despite the concessions available to them," she said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West