HARDSHIP UTILITY GRANT SCHEME —
453. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the minister representing the
During the past year we have seen a record number of WA
households forced to apply for the hardship utility grant scheme, commonly
referred to as HUGS. The increase in the utilisation of this scheme is a reflection
of the government's increased fees and charges on household incomes.
(1) How much funding has been allocated to the hardship
utility grant scheme in the 2018–19 budget?
(2) How much money was initially allocated to HUGS in
the McGowan government's first budget in 2017–18?
(3) What is
the total funding allocated to HUGS in the 2017–18 financial budget? In
other words, how much did the government end up spending compared with its
(4) How many HUGS applications have been lodged to date in the
2017–18 financial year?
(5) How many HUGS applications were lodged in the financial
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the
question. This answer too was asked on 17 May, so the answer is current as of
(1) In the 2018–19 budget, $16 million has been
allocated for grant payments under HUGS in the 2018–19 financial
year. It is expected that the reinstated financial counselling program, which
was terminated by the former government, as well as a number of reforms to
program administration by the utilities providers, will ensure that grant
payments are made to those most in need.
(2) At the
time of the publication of the 2017–18 budget, $20 million had been
allocated for grant payments under HUGS in the 2017–18 financial year.
In addition, $5.6 million was allocated to reinstate financial counselling into
the HUGS program.
(3) In the 2017–18 midyear review process, an
additional $5 million was allocated for grant payments under HUGS in the 2017–18
financial year. This brings the total estimated expenditure to $25 million in
(4) As at 10 May 2018, 53 803 applications have been lodged.
(5) In 2016–17, 42 127 applications were lodged.