Thursday, 27 April 2023

Labor’s Federal Budget must alleviate cost of living pressures

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt is calling on the Albanese Government to announce significant and on-going measures to help ease cost of living pressures on local residents in the upcoming Federal Budget.

“Cost of living pressures are one of the biggest issues right now for my constituents, as revealed in responses to Hinkler’s Biggest Survey,” Mr Pitt said.

“An initial analysis of the survey data has revealed some 88 percent of respondents budgets are under pressure and 85 percent want affordable and reliable electricity.

“The 2021 Census revealed the median weekly income in Hinkler is just $576. Along with continued interest rate rises, increases in groceries and fuel, I know people are struggling and I look forward to the Prime Minister and Treasurer revealing how they are going to assist.

“What we don’t want is more empty promises, like last year’s Budget in October, or the elusive $275 for electricity, a mirage in the desert, our lowest income earners in Australia need that assistance and much more.

“There must be a guarantee from the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Minister Bowen to reduce electricity prices and provide the repeatedly promised $275 a year reduction in power prices. Under Labor electricity costs aren’t going down, taxpayer’s subsidies are going up.”

Mr Pitt said the second budget action item for Hinkler is a commitment from the Albanese Government to keep its promise on supporting legislation for the stage 3 tax cuts.

“The stage 3 tax cuts will see 95 percent of taxpayers paying a top rate of no more than 30 cents in the dollar. Our workers need to keep more of what they earn with almost 60 percent of survey respondents wanting this guarantee from Labor.

“The Prime Minister’s promise to lift wages is embarrassing without a commitment to keep the Stage 3 tax cuts, and a real and immediate measure to assist cost of living. 

“His empty promise to help people earn more per hour is utterly useless when any increase would evaporate with costs skyrocketing, and he then adds insult to injury by chasing tax increases on their superannuation savings. These are part of a worker’s earnings that they’ve saved and put aside for retirement, not a treasure to be raided by an incompetent government that pretends to be on the side of workers.”

With Hinkler having the largest percentage of age pensioners in Australia, Mr Pitt said it wasn’t a surprise that 80 percent of respondents to his survey want more government support for seniors to meet the cost of living.

“One simple commitment I want the Treasurer to announce is allowing pensioners and veterans to work more hours without affecting their pensions. I have 94 percent of survey respondents in my electorate supporting this call.

“In fact, 86 percent told me they would be concerned with higher taxes on retirement or superannuation savings. I want a commitment in the budget that the superannuation taxation goal posts will not move again, as Labor promised before the election.”

With such a focus on personal budgets, cost of living pressures, Mr Pitt asked his electorate how much they were willing to pay to chase the Prime Minister’s emission reduction dreams and their response was unequivocal.

“Seventy-four percent are willing to pay nothing or a maximum of only $100 for emissions reduction measures. Add to that that 49 percent said that the emissions reduction figure is too high,” he said.

“People in Hinkler aren’t sitting around dreaming up ways to reduce emissions or shop for a new electric vehicle. They are desperate for a government to address immediate concerns that help them pay bills, work hard but keep more of what they earn and ensure that the lights turn on and the fridge is running when they need them.”

“I am also calling on the Albanese Government to commit funding to the North Bundaberg Evacuation Route, bring forward funding for the restoration of Paradise Dam and ensure that all Hinkler Regional Deal commitments are not delayed.”

The Federal Budget will be handed down on Tuesday, 9 May 2023.

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