Families in Dubbo could be torn between buying food or paying bills if gas prices are hiked after July 1, according to The Salvation Army.
The concern comes after Fairfax Media reported an honorary associate professor at the Australian National University, Hugh Saddler, said it was likely consumers in most states will experience double-digit increases in retail electricity and gas prices when they get adjusted in July.
The gas industry has claimed there are looming “gas shortages”, but a Victorian university study has disputed the argument.
Gas prices in NSW are set to rise after July 1.
The Salvation Army officer for Dubbo, David Sutcliffe, said the price increase will further the burden on families who are already struggling with the cost of living.
“The concern for us is that with these increases in prices it could become another burden for people, in turn increasing demand on our service to assist people with that,” David said.
“In regards to any of those things such as gas and electricity prices, we deal with a lot of people struggling week to week as it is an increase in the cost of living which makes a big impact on the affordability of being able to live any quality of life.”
David said for a lot of people it will mean switching off the gas, in turn leaving them without heating during winter and without the ability to cook their family a meal.
“What it usually comes down to for a lot of people is whether they buy food or choose to pay the power or gas bill,” David said.
David said his advice to families in Dubbo struggling to meet the financial demand of gas and electricity bills is to contact The Salvation Army who is available to assist with advice, payment plans and in providing a financial councillor or case worker.
“Come and see us early rather than having the bills grow and getting out of control,” he said.
“Come see us early so we can assist with that and work on getting people into payment plans to make it easier for people to manage.”
If you are seeking assistance call The Salvation Army helpline on 1300 371 288 or visit the office at 110 Gipps Street, Dubbo.