Steady leadership through uncertain times
Parliament has just adjourned for its winter recess.
This is the best time for me, as your local MP, to be out and about in the community and to hear from people across the electorate.
What’s clear from people in Southbank is that although they love where they live, the pressures on household budgets are real.
Rental and mortgage stress are eating into household budgets and reducing discretionary spending.
The cost of groceries, energy prices and childcare costs have also added to the pressure on single and family households.
Young professionals tell me they are finding it even harder to achieve financial security as they leave university and start their careers.
Holding back inflation
The worldwide surge in inflation caused by COVID and the war in Ukraine has inevitably impacted Australia. Although inflation is now easing, bringing down the cost of living remains our biggest challenge and focus.
The latest monthly consumer price index (CPI) shows inflation moderating to 5.6 per cent over the 12 months to May, down from 6.8 per cent in April.
This is very welcome news. But we understand that a lot of Australians are still under the pump. As the Treasurer, Jim Chalmers has said, “Inflation will be a bit higher than we’d like for a bit longer than we’d like … moderating inflation is obviously good news, but we need to see more of that because people are under pressure.”
With inflation moderating, record jobs in our economy, and a much bigger surplus acting as a buffer against a lot of this global economic uncertainty, Australia continues to be in a position of relative economic strength.
Through disciplined economic management, our first two budgets have delivered responsible, targeted measures to help ease the pressures on household budgets.
These measures include:
- Lowering the cost of medicines to a maximum of $12.50 a script and expanding Medicare to increase access to a GP.
- Delivering up to $3 billion of electricity bill relief, including green energy rebates for local businesses and a soon-to-be built community battery here in Southbank.
- Strengthening the safety net by increasing JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, the Single Parent Payment and Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
- Dramatically reducing childcare costs for about 1.2 million families.
All of these things are providing immediate relief to households in Southbank, but we know there’s more to do. I will keep working hard for the people in our community alongside my Labor colleagues.
Josh Burns MP is the federal Labor Member for Macnamara •