Low- and middle-income earners could receive additional cost-of-living relief, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated, as federal Labor politicians return to Canberra early to decide whether to take further action. Source: Canberra Times.
Labor members will meet tomorrow, weeks before Parliament is to resume, to discuss advice from the departments of the Treasury and Finance on options to relieve the cost of living for families without increasing inflation.
The Government has not said what measures it will consider, but experts have floated extensions to energy relief or support for food or rental expenses.
Radio station 2GB has also reported the Cabinet will consider a restructure of the stage three tax cuts, but a Government spokesperson responded: “The government’s position hasn’t changed.”
Mr Albanese has spoken out early and often on cost of living in the first weeks of the year, as the Government seeks to wrest back control of the narrative from the Coalition.
“What we’ll be looking at, of course, is the advice that we’ve received, about how we can take pressure off cost of living for people who are doing it tough without putting pressure on inflation,” he told Sky News yesterday.
“We’ve always said that we’ll continue to look for ways to assist people.
“If we can find ways to put extra dollars in people’s pockets, particularly those low- and middle-income earners who are doing it tough, then we’re prepared to do so.”
Relief could come in the form of extending energy bill subsidies or tax reform at the lower end of the income spectrum, associate professor at the Australian National University Ben Phillips said.
Less likely, but “sensible” would be improvements to the welfare system and rent relief.
Liberal and National politicians criticised Labor heavily in 2023 for its handling of the cost of living, claiming it had prioritised the failed Voice to Parliament referendum over economic relief for Australians.
‘Nothing wrong’ with extra funding for families doing it tough (By Miriam Webber, The Canberra Times)