House debates

Monday, 27 November 2023


Cost of Living

7:35 pm

Photo of Tania LawrenceTania Lawrence (Hasluck, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Annual inflation looks to have peaked, with the CPI, at 5.4 per cent in the September 2023 quarter, down from a peak of 7.8 per cent in the December quarter last year. Part of the reason for this has been the careful budgets brought down by the Treasurer, who has provided targeted, non-inflationary relief and balanced budgets while paying down debt. The RBA governor has said our budget strategy is very helpful and very positive, and the ABS has shown that our cost-of-living policies have taken half a percentage point off inflation.

We're targeting relief for household budgets where we can and we're getting wages moving for everyone. The government is steering the economy towards a better, more sustainable future, but the big-picture policies often feel removed from people's day-to-day lives. That's why I've organised a forum in Hasluck next month to provide some real, tangible advice to Hasluck locals on how to save money on bills, debts and essentials. It will help provide access to the discounts, concessions and services that they're actually entitled to and will put them in touch with some financial and legal counselling. This cost-of-living help hub will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday 9 December at Swan View Senior High School in Hasluck.

Hasluck is in many ways a typical peri-urban electorate. One way in which it is distinct, though, is that 53 per cent of our households are currently paying a mortgage and another 18 per cent are renting. That means that at least 71 per cent of families in Hasluck really do feel it when interest rates rise and when the cost of living is high. But it also means that families in Hasluck have stood to benefit the most from the government's targeted assistance. The government's helpful measures include paid parental leave, fee-free TAFE, cheaper child care, housing assistance, a strengthened Medicare and electricity bill relief.

Paid parental leave will increase by two weeks every year from July 2024 to 2026. Fathers and mothers in Hasluck will be able to better manage what is simultaneously a stressful and joyous time. Some 526 students, including those from families with older children and those returning to training, have taken advantage of fee-free TAFE at North Metropolitan TAFE in Midland, which is in the heart of Hasluck. There'll be a further 22,000 fee-free places at TAFE in Western Australia in 2024. Fee-free TAFE is a game changer, allowing families to access skills and training which they might otherwise have had to forgo and allowing us to create the skills base needed for the jobs of the future.

Since July this year the household budgets of over 5,600 families in Hasluck and over a million families across Australia have been benefiting from cheaper child care. This has meant that families have been able to budget better and also choose more days for their children, in many cases allowing parents to take on more employment, if that's what they choose.

With the Housing Australia Future Fund and other programs, this government is acting to solve the housing crisis. Our responsible budgets have had an ameliorating effect on inflation. We've increased rent assistance by 15 per cent. Fully 18 per cent of families in Hasluck are renting, so this measure alone will have significantly assisted thousands of household budgets in my electorate.

This government is also providing the greatest investment in Medicare and our health system since Medicare was first created by the Hawke government in 1984. We have tripled the bulk-billing incentive for children and concession card holders. We have reduced the maximum cost for PBS prescriptions and enabled doctors to write 60-day scripts for chronic conditions, saving people time and money. In Hasluck, a Medicare urgent care clinic will open soon in Midland, taking pressure off hospital EDs and providing further fee-free assistance.

In Hasluck, eligible residents and businesses will notice a reduction in their power bills. The Albanese government and the state Cook Labor government together have provided meaningful relief worth up to $750.

The Albanese government is helping Hasluck households. I hope many of the residents of Hasluck do come down to the cost-of-living help hub at Swan View Senior High School on Saturday 9 December from 10 am to 1 pm to talk to local groups, representatives from government and private organisations to find out all the different ways that they can save on their personal household budgets whilst we get on with the business of making cost-of-living relief for Australians across the whole.


No comments