Federal Election: Scott Morrison 'has no plan' to reduce cost of living

The May 21 Federal Election has been dubbed "the cost of living election" after a number of handouts were announced by the Morrison government in this year's Budget.

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers attacked the Coalition's cash splash, saying a short-term buy-off of voters won't fix Australia's long-term issues.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the Coalition is not invested in improving the cost of living for Australians beyond the Federal Election. Source: Getty.

Cost of living band-aid

Low and middle income earners received some relief in the Budget through tax cuts, and the government tried to further butter-up struggling voters with a one off $250 "cost of living" payment.

With ANZ Bank predicting underlying year-on-year inflation will be 3.4 per cent this year, well above the Reserve Bank’s target of between 2 and 3 per cent, a $250 payment wouldn’t go far in the typical family budget.

The temporary halving of the fuel excise will ease the pain all Australians have been feeling when they fill up their cars, yet in six months that pain will return.

So the cost of living is being addressed in the short-term, but what about the long-term?

Coalition has 'plan for election, not future'

The Labor Party has seized on the Coalition's short-term focus and come out swinging.

“Scott Morrison has a plan for the election, not a plan for a better future,” Chalmers told Yahoo News Australia.

“The costs of essentials are through the roof, real wages are going backwards, and Australians are working hard but they aren’t able to get ahead because their pay isn’t keeping up with prices.

“After a wasted decade on their watch, Scott Morrison and the Liberals are suddenly pretending to care about the costs of living that are squeezing hardworking Australians - because there’s an election.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during question time
Labor has labelled the Scott Morrison-led Coalition government the most wasteful since Federation. Source: Getty

Labor promises

Chalmers pointed to Labor’s energy policy as driving down rising electricity prices while also reducing emissions through investment in cleaner technologies, something that the Coalition has not committed to doing.

Other promises Labor has made so far include boosting fee-free TAFE places by “hundreds of thousands”, cheaper, more accessible child care, upgrading the NBN and the digital economy while boosting domestic manufacturing.

These initiatives sound great but as the cost of living is one of the biggest factors for people right now, how will Labor pay for them while keeping taxes down?

Chalmers says his party would plug the gaps left in the Budget, but didn't provide further detail.

“Nothing in the Budget makes up for a decade of attacks on wages, job security and Medicare, from the most wasteful government since Federation. Even the billions of dollars sprayed around in the Budget won’t go near topping-up the $3,600 typical Australian families are already out of pocket because of the skyrocketing costs of essentials,” Chalmers said.

“This Liberal National government has taxed more, borrowed more and spent more than the last Labor government, but delivered less.”

Hopefully more detail will be revealed in the coming weeks before the national poll.

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