This members statement is directed at the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to highlight the absurdity of the $250 energy saving bonus program.
This is a program that can only be applied for online, but it is only available to a demographic who in the most part do not have the skills or access to a computer or the internet to be able to apply.
Since this bonus was announced, my office has fielded dozens of calls and visits from older constituents who want to take up the offer but cannot apply. When they ring the phone number that is supposedly there to help them—they do not have access to a computer—they get directed back to the website. As you can imagine, this has created a great deal of frustration and confusion for my constituents, many of whom have said they think it is just a way of making them give up so they do not apply and end up saving the government some money.
Minister, this situation just does not work, especially in rural and regional areas where access to support services to help people navigate the internet is very limited and digital literacy levels among our ageing populations are also very low.
It makes no sense that the only way to apply for a rebate aimed at aged pensioners is online, and I would ask you and the government as a whole to consider all Victorians when putting schemes in place—not just those with access to the internet and with digital literacy. This demonstrates just how out of touch the government is with my community.