Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Cost of Living Concessions

315 The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO ().19 October 2023). Can the Minister for Human Services advise—

1. How many applications for the Cost of Living Concession have been received since 1 July 2022?

2. How many of these applications have been approved and had payments finalised?

3. What is the average processing time for Cost of Living Concession applications?

4. How many complaints about the Cost of Living Concession have been received since 1 July 2022?

5. What were the complaints regarding?

6. How many of these complaints have been resolved?

7. What is the average processing and resolution time for complaints about the Cost of Living Concession?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Human Services has advised:

1. There were 62,218 new applications received from 1 July 2022 to 19 October 2023. Over that period, the Department of Human Services (DHS) made 212,057 Cost of Living Concession (COLC) payments for the 2022-23 financial year and 211,489 COLC payments for the 2023-24 financial year.

2. Of the 62,218 new applications received from 1 July 2022, 44,519 have received a COLC payment. 17,699 were not approved or paid as they were either ineligible, have not provided required information after following up, or another resident of the household has been paid.

3. Since 1 July 2023 the average processing turnaround has been five days.

4. From 1 July 2022 through to 19 October 2023, DHS has received around 269 complaints regarding the COLC. This represents 0.06 per cent of the total 423,546 COLC payments made over the financial years 2022-23 and 2023-24.

5. Common topics for complaints included issues regarding eligibility, payment time frames, and contacting DHS. There were also a number of applicants who had received their payments but were unaware of this.

6. All customer inquiries are responded to and resolved by DHS providing advice of payment/receipt, rectifying any payment issues, or providing information regarding eligibility criteria.

7. The majority of the aforementioned enquiries to DHS are resolved with customer contact within one-three days. Customers who require a payment to be made will routinely receive it within two weeks.