Friday, June 15, 2012

Social housing rents bite on carbon tax compensation

With the State Budget comes confirmation that Housing NSW will include carbon tax compensation payments in social housing rent rebate calculations, starting from March 2013. (Click here for the media release.)

So, for most social housing tenants, 25 per cent of their payment will go to increased rent.



(We swore to ourselves that the last time we used this metaphor really would be the last time, but like the Count himself, it just won't die... and we had an eerie premonition that something like this might happen.)


As Shelter NSW points out, the State Government's decision is contrary to the general principle that income of a general nature is assessable for rent rebate purposes, but specific purpose supplements (like the GST supplement) are not.

The State Government's decision is also contrary to the stated intentions of the Federal Government. From the CleanEnergyFuture website:

Public housing tenants

Assistance is not intended to be included in state government public housing rent setting calculations so that public housing residents get the full benefit of assistance.

Housing Minister Pru Goward explained the State Government's decision:

Industry commentators forecast increases to property costs of up to 1.7 per cent. This increase would cost social housing in NSW $50 million over 4 years....

This is another reason why the NSW Government opposes the carbon tax because of its significant adverse impacts on the people and economy of NSW.

It is not the Brown Couch's job to advise politicians on how to spin, but the Coalition State Government might want to be careful not to appear to make social housing tenants the pawns in a political contest between itself and the Federal Labor Government.

1 comment:

  1. If you'll excuse a small amount of numbercrunch, I found this interesting. Maths is my own.

    A single aged pensioner in public housing currently receives $695.30 a fortnight from Centrelink. Their carbon tax compensation will amount to 338 per annum, or an extra 1.86% every year. By including the compensation as income, the NSW government is suggestin this figure should actually only be 253.50, or 1.4% - leaving the pensioners to deal with less of an increase than the government suggest they themselves will need.

    *The 1.7% increase is disputed, of course, by the Federal government, who's own estimates place the increase at just 0.6%.

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