Cost of Living

10 May | '2023

Tonight, the Treasurer will stand at this dispatch box and deliver what he claims is a cost-of-living budget—a budget that he says will deliver cost-of-living relief for Australians who need it most. The thing is we’ve heard that before from this government. We heard it when they promised a $275 reduction to your power bill, when they promised cheaper mortgages and when they promised no changes to super, lower inflation, no higher taxes, no changes to franking credits—the list goes on and on. Every single one of those promises has been broken, and it hasn’t even been 12 months. And the cost of living for Australian families continues to rise. Groceries and petrol prices are soaring. Fruits and vegetables have increased in cost by 4.9 per cent and dairy products by a whopping 14.9 per cent. Families simply can’t afford it.

It’s not the only thing that has gone up under this government. The last time Labor was in government, early childhood education fees skyrocketed by 53 per cent in just six years. In the last six months, already, out-of-pocket costs have gone up by 6.5 per cent. In only six months, they’ve gone up 6.5 per cent, and let’s watch them go up further. Centres are struggling to cover the increasing costs of rent, of food and of wages, which means providers will continue to put their fees up. This leads to higher out-of-pocket costs, leaving families with less money to put food on their tables and to pay those bills.

And yet this government continues to promise families they will be better off after 1 July. It’s just another broken promise waiting to happen. This government likes to bang on about how they know how hard it is to struggle, that Labor cares about you and that the Prime Minister cares about you. Families are resorting to buying canned food, eating out less, falling behind in their repayments, skipping vital car repairs and even mental health appointments to make ends meet. It’s not good enough for Australian families. Charities are inundated with requests for support and assistance, and they simply can’t keep up. Families are literally choosing between keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. And while you’ve been trying to figure out how you’re going to pay your bills, the Prime Minister has the gall to say, ‘It’s been a good 10 months.’

Well, maybe it has been a good 10 months for him. He has been gallivanting around the world, taking helicopters to barbecues and partying at lavish weddings, while you are suffering and can’t pay your bills. When it comes to the Prime Minister, it doesn’t matter what he says it’s about what he does, and his actions show time and again that he doesn’t care about you or your family. Almost every day of the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised that he would show up and that he would take responsibility. Well, it’s about time he did that.

Unfortunately for many Australian families, this cost-of-living crisis will continue to get worse under Labor. Australian families are making tough decisions about their own budgets. Inflation is eating into Australians’ pay packets and real wages are going backwards, causing the price of essential household goods and services to skyrocket. This government must show that they are prepared to do the same: to drive down the rate of inflation through budget measures, not a one-off sugar hit. Inflation comes from Canberra; it’s not coming from Vladimir Putin and it’s not coming from the war in Ukraine. I know that those opposite like to pretend it comes from somewhere else, but it comes directly from them and their decisions. Unless the government limits spending, Labor will continue to add to the cost of your mortgage, your rent, your groceries and just about everything else Australians are spending their hard-earned money on.

I’m not holding my breath tonight about the budget for Australians and the cost-of-living crisis. The last time this lot were in government they spend billions on programs like school halls and the pink batts disaster, and cut essential funding for mental health and the PBS. They stopped listing medicines because they ran out of money. It sounds like they’re reading more from their playbook; they have already cut mental health funding at the first opportunity. It’s clear: you can’t trust Labor to keep their promises. You can’t trust Labor to run the economy, and Australians always pay more under Labor.

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