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Beating cost of living increases in 2016

The cost of living for all Victorian households is set to increase in 2016 with the Victorian Council of Social Service warning that the increases will have a significant impact on vulnerable Victorians.

Victorian households should make sure they get the right information to help them mitigate cost of living increases in 2016 says VCOSS.

“Victorians can beat some of the more dramatic cost increases they will face by ensuring they know their rights and keep themselves informed of their options and the offers that are available,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“Victorian households will face a range of cost of living increases in 2016. These include:

Energy costs: gas prices are predicted to increase for some households in 2016, due to increases in the wholesale gas price. Reports have suggested that price increases will be in the vicinity of 5-8 per cent.

Public transport fares: most public transport fares will increase by 4 per cent from next year. From January 1, a two-hour ride in zones one and two during peak times will cost $3.90, up from the current $3.76. A daily ticket will cost $7.80, up 28 cents.

Car registration: Victorian drivers face a $771.60 registration renewal charge over the first six months of 2016, an increase of $27.10 from the start of 2015.

Postage: stamps will increase from 70 cents to $1 on 4 January 2016.

Ratepayers: already face an average increase in council rates of 3.8 per cent in 2015-16. Council rates will be capped at 2.5 per cent from mid-2016.

Fees and fines: have already increased from 1 July 2015 with fees up by 2.7 per cent and fines increasing by 2.75 per cent. From 1 July 2015, the value of a penalty unit is $151.67 and the value of a fee unit is $13.60.”

“While many of these costs will be unavoidable, people can beat many cost increases by ensuring they are fully informed of where savings can be made and by taking advantage of various offers and schemes.”

“The State Government’s YourChoice website offers good, independent advice on how to lower energy bills and where to find the best options for different households.”

“The Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria also has a range of good advice online to help people avoid the shock of high bills and to assist people in their dealings with energy and water retailers.”

“For people who do find themselves in hardship – Moneyhelp – run by the Consumer Action Law Centre, offers advice and assistance to people with debt or payment problems. Good Shepherd Microfinance offer low interest and no interest loans for people on low incomes.”