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Aussies set for ‘big’ cost of living boost

WOOLWORTHS and CONSUMER GENERICS
Australia’s economic recovery is on track for a slowdown. Picture: Nicki Connolly/NCA NewsWire.

More help for Aussie households being crushed by the rising cost of living is on the way, the government has said.

On a victory lap after Labor retained its seat in the south Melbourne electorate of Dunkley on Saturday night, Education Minister Jason Clare said high living costs remain top of mind for voters and would be front and centre of Labor’s federal budget in May.

“The big issue for all Aussies, whether they are in Dunkley or around the country, is the cost of living. That’s what's on everybody’s mind. Whether they’re paying bills at the supermarket or paying down their mortgage,” Mr Clare told Sky Agenda.

“The tax cuts will help with that, inflation going down will help with that, wages going up will help with that. But we’re very conscious that's the biggest issue Aussies face right now.

“It’ll be a big part of the budget. That is the biggest issue in the country at the moment, it’s what all Australians are focused on and it’s what we’re focused on as well.”

QUESTION TIME
Mr Clare said voters focus is on cost of living, Jason Clare says Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

The most recent data from the ABS shows over the past year food prices for Australians have risen by 8 per cent, travel and accommodation has risen by 25 per cent and household electricity bills have risen by a whopping 15.5 per cent.

Battlers received some welcome news last month after the latest Consumer Prices Index (CPI) data showed consumer prices rose 3.4 per cent in January from a year earlier, unchanged from their reading in December.

Ahead of the federal budget, Labor has said it will consider a number of additional relief measures on top of its shake up of the stage 3 income tax cuts which will kick in July, including changes to the university tuition system.

Mr Clare said the government was considering tying indexation to the wage price index or rate of inflation, rather than CPI, to reduce upfront university debt payments for lower-income earners.

LABOR VOTING FRANKSTON
Jane Hume said the Liberal’s will soon unveil their own package. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Under pressure to reveal the Coalition’s own cost-of-living package after their loss in Dunkley, opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said a lot of people across Australia were feeling the pinch and flagged plans to unveil the Liberal’s own policies were “well underway.”

“We all want to see inflation come back to band. But the problem is it’s staying higher for longer because of the decisions this government is making,” Ms Hume told Sky Agenda on Sunday.

“Watch this space.”