Cost of living lurks as Labor’s key early challenge

Jim Chalmers (ABC News/Matt Roberts)

Cost-of-living pressures are set to increase over the next six months, economists say, with inflation potentially reaching 6.5 per cent by year’s end in what would be an early challenge for the Albanese Government. Source: The Australian.

Jim Chalmers was sworn in as the country’s 41st federal Treasurer yesterday, having promised to deliver a budget in October that will feature a “pivot to quality” spending, but that will include election commitments that are estimated to add $7.4 billion to deficits over the coming four years.

Immediately following Saturday’s victory, Dr Chalmers made it clear addressing cost of living would be a key challenge, saying inflation was “almost out of control”.

Households are already feeling cost of living pressures, real wages going backwards and further interest rate rises lie ahead, Dr Chalmers told the Nine Network.

“So that will make life harder for people. They are also getting punished at the petrol pump at the moment with petrol prices going back up again.” 

However, Dr Chalmers wouldn’t promise extending the life of the excise cut beyond September, the Canberra Times reports.

“We’ll have a budget not long after that and if there’s more that we can do to ease the cost of living pressure on people we’ll do that.”

As the average national petrol price jumped 14c to $1.99 last week – still shy of the recent high of $2.13, but the largest weekly rise in the history of the Australian Institute of Petroleum’s data – Lowy Institute senior fellow John Edwards said it would be “at least six months of before we begin to see any sort of downtrend” in inflation.

Dr Edwards said it was important that Dr Chalmers had identified tackling inflation as a priority, but said the hard work of taming consumer price growth would be done by the Reserve Bank, which is widely anticipated to hike rates again when it meets in two weeks’ time.

FULL STORY

Cost of living lurks as Anthony Albanese’s biggest early challenge (By Patrick Commins, The Australian)

Punishment at the petrol pump: Chalmers (Canberra Times)

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