The Rising Cost of Living

8 February, 2023

I do appreciate and have great respect for the member who just spoke, the member for Fremantle, and he knows that. My only concern here is that government is hard, which the government members are now about to find out. It's never easy when you come into the government of this nation, especially in very difficult times. Nobody doubts in this House that these are difficult times. It's an especially difficult times for families who are struggling with the cost of living.

I'm probably unusual in this House. I don't know how many others own their own car and pay for their own fuel, but I own my own car and pay for my own fuel—for good reason: I was sick of people tracking everything that I did through my service station results and accounts. It may be a five- or seven-year-old Territory, but it is a lovely car. It's very hard to replace, and it's Australian made. But, of course, I have noticed that my fuel bill has doubled, and I'm not on my own. I can't imagine what it's like for a family in my electorate. The Monash electorate is a large regional electorate—not compared to the electorate of Gippsland or the Western Australians, but it's a large electorate—so my people, my constituents, have to travel. They travel for work, they travel for health care, for aged-care visitation and they travel to take their kids to school. Fuel is a very large component of their outlay in any given week, month or year.

Because of that, they're constrained in a number of ways. This is the first time in the last 10 to15 years that this generation of people have understood that interest rates don't only go down and stay down; they go up. When they go up it hurts. From my reading today, it says that average families with a $750,000 mortgage—which was unheard of in my day, but that's what it is today, so I read in the papers as they explain where we are at—have had an increase in their actual outlay of $1,400 per month. So in any household that is an increase of $1,400 per month—an increase. In any household, they have higher fuel bills, they have higher home loan repayments, and I read here that about 50 per cent of people are about to go from their fixed-rate mortgage into their non-fixed rate mortgage. About 40 per cent of people will roll over into non-fixed mortgages. They then too are under pressure, knowing what is coming for them over this next six months as they roll over into a higher interest rate that they will have to pay.

On top of that, I don't know whether you have had a look at the price of dog food recently.

An honourable member interjecting—

Mr BROADBENT: You may laugh, but families actually have dogs and they love their animals. They spend a lot of money feeding them and looking after them. The price of dog food has gone through the roof. It's only one component of what goes in their grocery basket. If you look, fruit and veg that have gone up 23 per cent and a basket load of shopping that has increased overall by 19 per cent, so you now have three configurations. You have the price on fuel, insurance has gone up—if you notice any of your premiums coming through—you will notice that the cost of schooling has gone up, and the cost of daily living in every household has gone up. Government is hard, because people expect government to look after their health and wellbeing. This new Labor government has a responsibility to the people of Australia to do everything they can, without laughing about dog food, without laughing about the cost to households. What will happen in this House is you will learn not to laugh when people are under pressure. You will learn not to laugh at families. And if I don't get a rise from you, it means this speech hasn't been worth giving. Thank you for mocking, and I think the time for this debate has expired.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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