Op-Ed: Time to deliver on promises

Households across the country have become accustomed to bracing themselves on the first Tuesday of every month to hear whether they can expect their mortgage repayments to increase.

Interest rate rises, coupled with high levels of inflation on essential consumables such as petrol and groceries are putting an immense strain on household budgets.

Tasmanians are feeling the pressure and many households are struggling to pay the bills.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. At the 2022 election, the Labor Party plastered signs and ads promising to cut the cost of living everywhere.

Anthony Albanese promised that power bills would fall by $275 from 2022 prices. Instead, they’re rising by hundreds of dollars as mainland states struggle to power homes and businesses, forcing Tasmanian prices to rise as well through no fault of our own.

Labor also promised mortgage rates will be lower, yet the cash rate has risen an eyewatering 11 times – from 0.35 per cent to the current 4.1 per cent – since Anthony Albanese and his Labor Government have been in office.

In both of the budgets they’ve handed down, Labor has increased inflationary pressure with billions more in spending.

It’s clear that Mr Albanese was so desperate to become Prime Minister that he was willing to say and do anything to get into power – even if that meant making promises he had no intention of delivering.

The Prime Minister has attempted to deflect all criticism on the matter, blaming everything from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the previous Government as the source of all the Government’s problems.

But at the end of the day, he’s the one who promised Australians that his Government would alleviate cost of living pressures.

On Monday, the Senate’s Cost of Living Committee held a public inquiry in Hobart to hear from various witnesses about the impact of the massive cost of living increases on Tasmanians.

We heard evidence from witnesses ranging from the not-for-profit sector right through to representatives from our local business community, stressing the dire consequences that cost increases are having on Tasmanians.

The message from witnesses was clear - the cost of living crisis is hurting Tasmanians.

Our not-for-profit organisations reported more people coming through their doors, with the St Vincent de Paul Society stating that they were seeing more Tasmanians with jobs – let alone those without work – struggling to make ends meet.

This is a worrying revelation and speaks volumes to the immense financial stress many Tasmanian households are currently experiencing.

Tasmanian small and medium sized businesses are also feeling the economic pain, with business owners having to deal with increased overheads essential to the operation and continued success of their business. To stay afloat, there’s no option but to pass many of those new costs onto consumers, which further hurts Tasmanian households.

When the cost of living is running high, governments must be disciplined and sensible when spending taxpayer dollars so as not to add to inflationary pressure. Yet the May budget went in the opposite direction, with Labor instead delivered a high-spending budget which will only keep inflation higher than it should be.

Anthony Albanese promised that Australians would be better off under Labor. Fourteen months on, there wouldn’t be many Tasmanians who feel better off. Instead, tens of thousands of Tasmanians are struggling to keep their heads above water.  It’s high time the Federal Government stopped deflecting and started delivering what it promised.

*This opinion piece appeared in the Mercury newspaper on 14 July 2023