House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Private Members' Business

Cost of Living

10:39 am

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

This motion acknowledges the cost-of-living pressures, including the cost of groceries putting Australians under the pump. This is exactly what those of us on this side of the House have been talking about for a long time. We have been pleading with those opposite to do something about the cost-of-living pressures for well over 12 months. The unfortunate reality is that we are living in a Labor created cost-of-living crisis, and those opposite have failed to provide any real help or any real assurance to the people of Australia that they're going to do something—absolutely anything—about this.

I want to highlight the disappointing section of the motion where the member for Spence states:

… these measures are further examples of the Government ensuring everyone is doing their bit when it comes to easing the cost of living …

What a joke! When I think of the Albanese Labor government, I don't think that they have ensured anything other than a pack of broken promises and ill-advised policymaking, inflating or stroking their own political agendas and egos.

What does come to mind when I think of the Albanese Labor government is the following: burying their heads in the sand about the cost-of-living pressures facing Australians, while choosing to spend millions of dollars on a divisive and failed referendum; 12 interest rate rises, forcing mortgages and rents up; housing costs rising by 12 per cent; promising 97 times that we would see $275 reductions in our power bills, when in reality, our electricity prices are now up by 20 per cent; fuel prices increasing; insurance costs up by 22 per cent; and food costs up by nine per cent.

Those opposite have implemented tax after tax on our major industries, penalising the hardworking Australians who greatly contribute to our economy. This is making our cost of living worse. Now, they're trying to push a turbocharged vehicle emissions policy on the people of Australia which will force car prices to increase by up to $25,000—and that's not even taking into account the fact that these price increases could push some vehicle costs up so high that they will now incur the luxury car sales tax on top of that.

For a long time now, the coalition has been calling on the Prime Minister and his government to direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct an inquiry into the competitiveness of retail prices and allegations of price gouging in the supermarket sector. We have been calling for this for a very long time, while the Labor government seems to have finally started to realise how bad the situation is and is doing the absolute bare minimum by announcing the ACCC inquiry into supermarket prices. The fact that they've only just announced this, in February, and we won't see the final report until the end of February next year, is shameful.

I always like to look at the positive side of things, and I would love to be able to say, 'better late than never', but unfortunately, for the people of Australia, this is far too late.

Under this Albanese Labor government, we have seen families struggle to decide whether to either pay their rent or mortgage, buy their medication or feed their families—because at the moment they can't do all three.

We've seen the housing crisis worsen. More and more families and individuals in Dawson are being displaced, living in their cars or in tents or even on the street. Which demographic is hurting most? It's those that can't afford to cut their budget any further. It's the single parents trying to feed, clothe and house their children. These single parents are skipping meals just so their children can eat. It's the younger generations trying to put themselves through uni or work through an apprenticeship on the minimum wage. It's the older generations trying to live off their pensions. Over 50 per cent of people in Australia are only just making ends meet—or actually failing to do so.

While the announcement of the ACCC inquiry into supermarket price gouging is a step in the right direction, the cost-of-living crisis has already taken so many victims hostage. This announcement has come far too late and should have come a long time ago. This announcement is what the people of Australia and the people of my electorate deserved months ago. The Albanese Labor government is failing Australians, and they need to do better.


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