Northern Territory Council of Social Service

2020 NT Election

Cost of Living

In the next term, expand the eligibility criteria for the NT Concession Scheme to include people most in need, including people on JobSeeker and other people eligible for a Commonwealth Health Care Card.

The NT is the only state or territory that does not offer electricity concessions to all Commonwealth Health Care Card holders.

NTCOSS advocates for extension of the scheme to include people on Job Seeker and other low incomes including people eligible for Commonwealth Health Care Cards.

    Currently the NT Pensioner and Carer Concession scheme provides concessions on essential goods and services including:

    • council rates and garbage services
    • electricity
    • water and sewerage
    • NT driver licence and vehicle registration
    • spectacles.
    All concessions under the Northern Territory (NT) Concession Scheme are capped.

    You can get free renewal on your driver licence and up to:

    • $1,200 per annum for electricity (8000kW)*
    • $800 per annum for water (471kL)*
    • $486.12 per annum for sewerage (based on fixed daily concession of $1.332)*
    • $200 per annum for council rates*
    • $150 per annum for garbage (varies between regions)*
    • $154 per annum for vehicle registration ($77 for 6 months)
    • $502.20 every two years for you and your registered dependents for spectacles

    You must be a current recipient of a Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs benefit:

    • age pension
    • disability support pension
    • carer payment
    • parenting payment (single)
    • Repatriation Health Card TPI or War Widower (Gold Card)
    • Repatriation Pharmaceuticals Benefits Card (Orange Card)
    • Pensioner Card (Blue Card)
    • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (Green Card).

    Previously NTCOSS campaigned for the then ‘seniors recognition and concession scheme’ to be reformed. NTCOSS said the concession scheme should be separated from a “recognition program” and targeted to low income people.

    The NT Government listened to our call and made significant changes to the scheme, establishing the NT Concession Scheme and the NT Seniors Recognition Scheme.

    The NT Concession Scheme was targeted to low income Territorians but excluded the people on the lowest income of all – people on Newstart (now JobSeeker).

    In the next term, greatly expand the requirements and compliance of energy efficient building construction in the NT, including incorporating public and commercial works, and lifting the required energy star rating, which is currently below the national standard.

    All new NT Government buildings and government funded building projects must incorporate minimum energy efficiency standards and generate their own solar power.

    There is no excuse for the NT’s poor record – the worst in the country – on energy efficient construction. Those that bear the brunt of costly, inefficient buildings are those least able to pay.

    Currently Territory regulations require a 5 star energy rating for new houses and 3.5 for apartment buildings and there are no energy efficiency requirements for commercial buildings, including schools, hospitals, aged care facilities and shops. NTCOSS is calling for an increase in minimum energy efficiency standards for new and refurbished residential buildings from 5 to at least 8 stars.

    As a matter of priority the Government must also adopt NCC 2019 Section J – which applies basic minimum energy efficiency standards to commercial buildings.

    The rest of the country adopted the commercial building requirements 14 years ago, and is working towards a minimum 8 star rating for houses and 5 for units.

    In addition, NTCOSS calls for the building control areas to amended so that energy efficiency requirements apply to buildings in remote communities.

    The NT must establish a post-pandemic economic stimulus program focussed on energy efficiency upgrades for social housing.

    Refusing to build or renovate to high standards of energy efficiency dooms the residents of those dwellings to high energy use and the potential to fall into energy poverty.

    Electricity is relatively cheap in the NT because the government subsidises our electricity, but even at this artificially low price, Territorians spend more on energy than households in every other state or territory in Australia.

    Energy Efficiency measures include things like lighting, shade structures, renewable energy, pool covers, solar hot water systems, as well as design features.

    It’s the single most effective investment that gets power bills down.

    The Territory needs to ensure energy productivity is maximised – that every bit of energy is used to maximum effect.

    “The gigawatt that you don’t need to generate is the best kind of low-emissions generation.”

    Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist

    We call on the incoming government to conduct a review into regional and remote transport networks.

    In the first term, extend the NT Concession Scheme to provide subsidies for remote residents using remote private transport services, and extending the MVR Concessions to all Commonwealth Health Care Card holders.

    Poor transport hinders efforts by low income families to find employment, and to engage in educational, health and social activities, and access affordable food options, in regional and urban settings.

    Strategies are required that address access to more affordable transport options (both public and private transport), including addressing gaps in regional centre public transport to ensure low income residents are able to shop at more affordable stores that are not within walking distance of where they live, to provide an alternative to the more costly taxi and minibus services.

    Other measures for consideration include using the NT Concession Scheme to provide subsidies for remote residents using remote private transport services – e.g. Bush bus and Bodhi Bus) to access regional centres to periodically shop for bulk food items and groceries. In addition, extending the Motor Vehicle Registration Concessions (under the NT Concession Scheme) to all Commonwealth Health Care Card holders would improve affordability of access to private vehicles for many low income households, by reducing annual registration costs.

    “Affordable and accessible transport services are essential for disadvantaged Territorians to obtain essential services, seek and hold employment, and simply do their weekly shopping.”