CASH-STRAPPED residents walked out of yesterday’s Bill Buster forum armed with the knowledge that could save them hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars a year.
The event, organised by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson in association with The Northern Daily Leader, featured more than a dozen organisations providing money-
saving tips. Soaring cost of living pressures, driven primarily by dramatic increases in the price of electricity, gas, fuel and water in
recent years, have put the squeeze on household budgets.
Many residents, especially pensioners and those with dependent children, have reported needing to make serious sacrifices merely to keep pace with the bills as they arrive. But, as the Bill Buster forum demonstrated, there is relief available if people know where to look.
One man left the forum estimating he could make up to $1400 in savings, while a pensioner was shocked to learn she was eligible for a rebate on her registration of more than $500.
Tamworth resident Bill Ryan said he had been becoming increasingly concerned with his power bills and was looking at ways of making savings.
“This forum today prompted me to do something about it and the result is that I have made significant savings not only on power, but with other unavoidable expenses that arrive each month,” he said.
Essential Energy’s David Crough said residents could make substantial savings by switching to energy- efficient lightbulbs, while AGL’s Mick Hanley said people could slash up to 7 per cent off their bills simply by switching appliances off at the power point.
Centacare psychologist Josie Hofman said financial hardship often led to stress-related problems that could affect all aspects of someone’s life.
“Probably the biggest thing is that the cost of living has increased and obviously that’s going to impact on people financially,” Ms Hofman said.
“If you’re experiencing significant stress because of financial problems, come and get some support before it spirals out of control.”
Mr Anderson said he was pleased with the event and hoped to hold another one in the near future.
“I was very happy with the amount of agencies and businesses that gave their time to try to help the community, which is great,” he said.
“We had a steady stream of people through and I would like to do it again and we might even try to do it in the evening so people can come after work.
“But the feedback from the people who have been here has been very good.”