Rising cost of living pressures
Everywhere I look, I see prices going up and every dollar I earn doesn’t go as far as it used to.
From the increasing prices of basic household essential items like a litre of milk, a loaf of bread, a carton of eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables to filling up your vehicle at the local petrol bowser - I know that many local households, families, pensioners and seniors are doing it tough.
Shopping around for the best deal is important – and by shopping at local businesses, you can often find some of the best price value and savings.
As your local MP, I have fought for and delivered cost of living support measures for our local community, including:
Family Energy Rebate
The Family Energy Rebate helps NSW family households with dependent children cover the costs of their energy bills. If you receive your bill directly from your energy retailer and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for the Family Energy Rebate online. The 2022-23 Family Energy Rebate will close at 11pm on 16th June 2023. To apply, click here.
NSW Gas Rebate
If you are a concession card or Health Care card holder you may be eligible for a gas rebate on your bill. You must have an account directly with an energy supplier. Eligible households receive the rebate as a credit on each quarterly gas bill, up to a total of $110 per year. The amount is calculated daily from the day you call your supplier and apply. If you receive your gas bill from the strata manager or community/village operator, you can apply for the gas rebate (on supply and bottled gas households). To apply, click here.
Back to School NSW vouchers:
The Back to School NSW vouchers program provides 3 x $50 vouchers, totalling $150 for each eligible student to assist parents and caregivers with the cost of back to school supplies.
The vouchers can be used:
Only one application can be made for each student.
You can apply for vouchers for more than one student in the same application as long as they're on the same Medicare card.
To apply, click here.
First lap Learn to Swim vouchers:
Parents of children aged 3 to 6 years who are not enrolled in school, can apply for a $100 voucher towards the cost of swimming lessons. The voucher can be used for a structured swimming lesson program with an approved First Lap provider. The voucher is valid until 30th June 2023.
To apply, click here.
Active Kids vouchers
The Active Kids program provides 2 x $100 vouchers for parents, guardians and carers of school-enrolled children to use towards sport and active recreation costs each year.
To apply, click here.
Creative Kids vouchers:
Making it easier for school-aged kids (4.5 to 18 years old) to get involved in creative and cultural activities. Parents can claim a $100 voucher per year to put towards lessons and fees with registered providers for performing arts, visual arts, coding, languages, literature, music and other creative and cultural activities.
To apply, click here.
$250 travel card to support our local apprentices and uni students
Apprentices and university students will soon benefit from a new $250 travel card to help with the cost of the commute to work, training or university. This initiative will take the pressure off the hip pocket of our local apprentices, trainees and university students.
Having travelled by train and bus from my home in Bomaderry to Wollongong University every day during my studies – I remember what it's like and I haven't forgotten that study comes at a cost and it's expensive to get the skills you need to land future employment.
Apprentices will be the first to access the card which will be available from Service NSW under the two-year trial which will open to applications from February 2023 with uni students to follow in April 2023.
Download the fuelcheck app today to save money at the bowser
Whilst competition law that governs fuel prices is controlled by the Commonwealth Government, I want to remind locals of the handy and practical benefits of the FuelCheck App which can save you money.
There is often significant gaps in prices between local service stations in the same town or village across our region.
Deciding to fill up on a particular day at a particular station could save you significant money each week.
Each dollar adds up in your weekly budget and these fuel savings can total over $800 over a year for many local families.
The FuelCheck app includes a ‘Favourite Stations’ function, allowing users to save their favourite petrol stations. There is also a ‘Trends’ page showing the cheapest day of the week to fill up and the day’s price range.
The FuelCheck app is free to download and is available here.
Access energy efficient lighting discounts:
Incentives for household lighting upgrades are available under the NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme.
The NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme reduces electricity and gas use by creating financial incentives for households and businesses, including incentives for eligible households to replace old lights with new LED lights.
To qualify for the offer you need to have a minimum number of downlights to be upgraded.
Select the 'Energy efficient lighting discounts' button to find an approved supplier in your local area and to check out if you can take advantage of the offer and save money today!
Click here for more information about energy efficient lighting discounts!
Compare energy plans made easy to get the best value:
Energy Made Easy is an energy price comparison service for local households and local small businesses.
The service is free and available in states and territories that have adopted the National Energy Customer Framework.
Energy retailers are required by law to provide the data for every plan they make available to customers. This means you will be able to find and compare all the electricity and gas plans of all energy retailers.
Energy Made Easy provides you with all the information you need to make a decision, and then you contact the retailer of your choice.
Click here for more details and start to compare your energy plans online today for the best value for your money.
If you have a good driving record, you may be eligible for an automatic 50% discount on your licence renewal fee under the NSW Government’s 'Fair Go for Safe Drivers' Scheme.
You’ll need to:
have held your full NSW driver, rider or heavy vehicle licence for at least 5 years
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can renew your licence up to 6 months after its expiry date and receive the discount.
Click here for more information and to read all of the eligibility criteria for the scheme.
Apply for an apprentice vehicle registration rebate: If you're a first or second year apprentice registered with the NSW Department of Education and Training, you can apply for a registration rebate to help you with the costs of registering your vehicle.
Click here for more information about this rebate and to download a PDF version of the application form today.
The Seniors Energy Rebate is available for eligible self-funded retirees to help cover the cost of their electricity. Gas accounts are not included. The rebate is $200 per household, per financial year.
Click here for more information and you can apply online today.
Click here to download and apply for Shoalhaven City Council's Pensioner Concession Rate - Rebate Application Form online today.
Click here to download and apply for the Sydney Water pensioner concession rebate form online today.
Claim the Pensioner Water Rebate.
If you receive a pension, you may qualify for a rebate on your water bill.
Rebates are applied to each bill.
To be eligible for a rebate, you’ll need to:
If you own the property with someone who isn’t a pensioner, you may still get a rebate. Check your water supplier's eligibility criteria.
Click here for more information.
Before and After School Care Vouchers
Families with children aged 4 to 13 years that attend a primary school can receive a $500 voucher per child to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of before and after school care.
This includes children who are starting kindergarten in 2023.
The before and after school care voucher program is offered as one of more than 70 NSW Government rebates and vouchers that help you save.
Local parents, guardians and care givers
You can apply for and redeem your vouchers until 31st January 2023.
Voucher credit held for you by a participating provider can be used until 30 June 2023. After 30 June 2023, any remaining credit you have will expire.
Provider registrations closed on 30th September 2022. If you are a participating provider, you can accept vouchers until 31st January 2023.
Any voucher credit you hold for a customer can be used until 30th June 2023.
If you are holding any voucher credit for your customers after 30th June 2023, you must repay the amount of remaining credits you have already claimed.
Click here for more information about the Before and After School voucher program.
Apply for a recreational vessel registration and a 50% discount!
Depending on the type and size of vessel you own, you may need to register it in order to use the navigable waterways in NSW.
Once you have your registration, you can access it digitally using your smartphone or tablet device. You'll need to have a MyServiceNSW Account and the latest version of the Service NSW app. You can then add Maritime to your MyServiceNSW Account.
Note: Some discounts are available for pensioners.
You must be at least 16 years old to register a vessel.
A 50% discount on the registration fee is available if you:
What you need
(Pictured: Minnamurra River)
Recreation and Leisure savings available:
Most motorists who renew registration online can get $15 off popular passes to NSW national parks. Save money and enjoy exploring the natural world in your state.
$15 discount for All Parks or Multi Park passes
You have to pay a fee in 45 out of 880 national parks in NSW. You can get a $15 discount for one 12-month All Parks or Multi Park Pass.
Unfortunately, renewing online does not give you discounts for a Country Parks or Single Park pass, or daily park entry fees. Single day entry is $4, $8 or $12 per vehicle, except in Kosciuszko National Park ($17). So it is worth buying an annual pass.
These funds help protect biodiversity and conserve sites of cultural significance. They also help maintain facilities, walking tracks and visitor centres.
How to get the $15 discount
The $15 discount is available for eligible drivers only. This means you drive a passenger vehicle with 8 seats or less and use it for personal purposes only. It can’t be used with any other discount, such as a seniors discount. Seniors already pay discounted prices.
To get the discount, you must renew your registration online. Renew here. If you are eligible for the discount, you’ll be able to select ‘Buy a pass’ on the last screen of the renewal process.
Since 20th April 2021, all annual passes to national parks are digital passes linked to your vehicle. You no longer receive a sticker.
For more details on all cost of living programs and initiatives currently available from Service NSW, please visit https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/savings-finder.