House debates

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Matters of Public Importance

Cost of Living

3:51 pm

Jenny Ware (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise on this matter of public importance, the cost-of-living crisis and this government's lack of a plan to deal with it. The rapidly accelerating cost of living is something that Australians are really struggling with. Interest rates are going up, the price of food and groceries is skyrocketing and the reduction to the fuel excise is set to expire in only 48 hours. We have seen five interest rate increases over the past five months. Morgan Stanley is currently forecasting interest rates to reach as high as 3.6 per cent by only February of next year. Even for now, the current cash rate of 2.35 per cent is the highest official interest rate since 2014, with the rate of increase the highest since 1994.

Successive interest rate rises and uncontrolled inflation are crushing the quality of life for the 3.5 million Australians with a mortgage. With the current median house price in my electorate of Hughes sitting at around $1.5 million, the latest census data shows that 15 per cent of these mortgagors have mortgage repayments comprising more than 30 per cent of their household income. This constitutes significant mortgage stress. However, this government has not brought forward any plan to address cost-of-living pressures on families or on small businesses. With these increasing pressures on Australian households, the government must rule out tax cuts and must commit to the tax cuts previously provided by the coalition government in its upcoming budget.

I've been visiting local businesses across the electorate of Hughes since being elected. These business owners are crying out for action from this government. There is no plan from this government to address supply chain issues. There is no plan from this government to bring down power prices. And there is no plan from this government to increase consumer confidence and encourage local spending. I call upon this government to act decisively. As cash rate increases are progressively passed on to homeowners by the banks, those with variable home loans will be feeling the crunch, particularly as we're coming into Christmas. When Australians are doing their Christmas grocery shopping this year, and when they're buying gifts for their loved ones, they are going to feel real financial pain. When Australians are buying and paying for their holidays over the Christmas break this year, they'll be feeling real financial pain. This is real financial pain that this government, if it had a plan, could address for these Australians. We have heard the Treasurer of this government calling his October budget a bread-and-butter budget. We know that Labor's bread and butter is big spending and big taxing.

The Treasurer and this government only have plans to spend more, and the only way to do this is to tax hardworking Australians who are battling the rising cost of living. So far, the government has refused to rule out bringing back changes to franking credits and changes to negative gearing. In 2019, we saw Australians emphatically reject Labor's past attempts to make changes to franking credits and negative gearing, yet this is still not being ruled out by this current government. Any Labor plan to scrap full tax refunds will cause misery and suffering to low-income earners and modest retirees, who have worked, saved and invested under a fair system that should be respected and safeguarded.

The previous coalition government created 1.9 million new jobs, with over 1.1 million of these jobs filled by women. The unemployment rate under the coalition government was at 3.9 per cent, the lowest in decades. The number of trade apprentices in training had risen to 220,000, the highest level since records began in 1963. From 1 July this year, low- and middle-income earners began receiving the coalition's tax offset. Personal income tax cuts were legislated by the coalition government, meaning that around 95 per cent of Australians will pay a marginal rate of no more than 30c in the dollar in two years time. The previous coalition government also reduced the company tax rate to only 25 per cent.

To conclude, I call upon this government to release its plan to reduce cost-of-living pressures.

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