WE ASK: What can be done to ease the cost of living?

We asked the 10 Federal election candidates for the seat of Page about the cost of living. Here’s our question with their answers below.

Cost of living is a real issue for voters. This includes food prices and wages. How do you see the current situation and what can be done to ease the cost of living?

Serge Killingbeck, TNL

The availability of reasonably priced, safe and adequate housing is the biggest drag on cost of living pressures. To provide an equitable approach that recognises the primary purpose of housing is the basic human right to shelter, not speculative opportunities, means the cost of housing must fall. At TNL we have a considered plan that provides a reset for the housing market. It will drive down the cost of housing to something reasonable, owning and renting, without punishing those who have already been forced to pay too much, trying to provide housing security for their families.

Patrick Deegan, Labor

The cost of living crisis is taking a toll on all Australians. Everything is going up, except wages. This is the direct result of deliberate Federal Government policies to keep wages down.  A Labor Government will take the handbrake off wages so that your pay can keep pace with inflation.

We should also be looking for ways to make the economy more efficient, and to expand workforce participation.  For example, a Labor government will make childcare more affordable for Australian families so more parents can work full-time if they choose.

Tom Searles, Liberal Democrats

I know people living in their cars, who work full time, who cannot find a house to rent and will never be able to buy. The system is broken.  The biggest issue is not the cost of living going up, it is the value of the dollar going down. It’s important to know the difference because many potential solutions will make things worse. For example, when governments print or borrow money, that money will go to the biggest institutions and corporate systems first and then trickle down, but the trickle down is a tiny percentage of the total input. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the economy is, the richest people’s property investments outperform the poorest. People on wages or welfare see the least benefit.  Over the period that the stock market or housing prices doubled, wages only went up 15%. The solution is to control the borrowing of the government.

Heather Smith, Australian Federation Party

We need genuine solutions to keep a lid on fuel and energy costs.  Nearly everything we need in Australia takes energy/electricity to produce and multiple stages of freight.  Australia used to produce its own fuel and we need to do so again. Then we can decouple from international oil prices. All options for cheaper, reliable energy need to be back on the agenda. We must stop pandering to vested interests which are blocking true innovation in the energy sector.  We need major tax reform, lower taxes across a wider base will leave more money in pay packets of everyday Australians. Lastly we need to stop with inflationary policies that keep fuelling property prices, this requires banking reform as well as other policy reforms.

Ian Williamson, United Australia Party

United Australia’s policies are all focused on reducing the cost of living. They include freezing house interest rates at 3%, forgiving all student debts, paying the national debt to stem inflation, make the first $30,000 of a home loan a tax-deduction every year, tax relief on a second job, Zonal Taxation for regional areas, and increasing the pension by $180 a fortnight. 

Kevin Hogan, Nationals

We have saved money at the fuel pump by cutting the fuel excise by 22c per litre.

We’re also putting more money in your pocket by lowering taxes.

Pensioners and other concession card holders are also getting a one-off $250 Cost of Living payment.

Kashmir Miller, Greens

The cost of living is on the rise for everyday Australians, and wages are remaining relatively the same. This is an equality and social justice issue. While we are struggling, 47 billionaires doubled their wealth during the pandemic. The Greens plan on easing the cost of living by:
Building one million quality, affordable homes
Including mental and dental health in Medicare
Increasing the minimum wage and giving casual and contract workers protection
Raising all income support payments to at least $88 per day to get people out of poverty
Providing free childcare to support workers

Hanabeth Luke, Independent

A fair future for Page means ensuring that there is both affordable and social housing for our families, our young people and our elderly. Supporting our local industries and businesses means ensuring there is training and housing for their workers. I’m committed to ensuring that the people of Page receive a fair and liveable wage. In many cases this will require working with industry and business to achieve the best outcome.

Candidates Donna Pike, One Nation and Brett Duroux, Indigenous Aboriginal Party of Australia did not respond to our question,

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