House debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Matters of Public Importance

Cost Of Living

3:47 pm

Photo of Andrew WillcoxAndrew Willcox (Dawson, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

Every time we have a Labor government, the cost of living goes up and the Australian public have to pay the price. This is how it is and how it has always been. This is a reality.

There are many people in my electorate of Dawson who are wondering why this government is continuing to fail to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Labor has been exposed as being without a plan and without solutions, and this is hurting Australians. Labor has been exposed for not standing by their word and for breaking promises. The people of Australia were promised a $275 power bill reduction. This was not a slip of the tongue. This promise was repeated all over the country 97 times. We were promised we would be better off under Labor, but under Labor we have seen unaffordable rises in interest rates, skyrocketing power prices, exorbitant insurance premiums and huge increases in food and fuel costs.

I've recently run a cost-of-living survey in my electorate. Thousands of constituents took part in this survey. Ninety-eight per cent of the people who took the survey said that rising costs of fuel, groceries and energy and rising interest rates are creating huge amounts of stress for themselves and their families. A constituent from Bowen who has a 400-kilometre round trip from Bowen to Townsville for regular medical attention is struggling with extra fuel costs, leaving him short of money each week for necessary expenses. With the rising energy costs, a pensioner in Townsville can't afford to run their air conditioner. Anyone who's been to my electorate knows how hard it is to live without air conditioning in our sweltering heat.

A constituent from East Mackay contacted my office advising they had just received their insurance premium renewal. Their premium has doubled, going from $3,000 to $6,000 in 12 months. This has forced them to now be uninsured. A diabetic living in Mackay came to my office just last week to complain about the cost of fruit and vegetables and about how this was causing him financial stress. A family of seven in my electorate recently told me that they are now spending $600 to $800 per week on groceries. They have said that this is not sustainable, and they are unsure what their future holds. A pensioner in Mount Ossa whose beloved wife is in a nursing home in Mackay now can't visit her each day and has now had to cut that back to every second day so he can afford to eat.

How is this happening in Australia, the lucky country? Not only are we facing the cost-of-living crisis; this Labor government has also made significant funding cuts to the regions. Labor has cut our road infrastructure funding. They have cut funding to mental health services. The Building Better Regions Fund is gone. They have cut our mobile phone black spot funding. Veteran's support has been axed, and water infrastructure funding has all dried up.

The Treasurer had an opportunity to provide relief to this cost-of-living debacle in October, when he delivered his first budget. Instead, he delivered a grim forecast. He warned Australians to expect soaring energy bills in the future. Remember that $275 reduction in our power bills? It's still nowhere to be seen. Australians deserve a government that is on their side, not one that breaks promises and rips funding out of where it is needed. Australians deserve and need a government with a solid economic plan, not one that is just there. Running this country is not a spectator sport. This Labor government is big on commentary and there is no action. I am urging Labor government to start taking our cost-of-living crisis seriously and to start listening to Australians. Thank you for your support.


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