As cost of living pressures continue to be felt across the nation, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has offered his commitment to introducing “measures that alleviate” the hardship.
With the price of food, fuel, and other essential items skyrocketing, Albanese told reporters that his government plans to introduce legislation that will ensure cheaper medicines and lower childcare costs among others.
“We understand the pressures that people are under, and we wanted to undertake measures that alleviate cost of living pressures,” Albanese said.
“We’ll be introducing legislation this fortnight on cost of living measures, including for cheaper medicines and cheaper childcare.
“That’s why we put forward a submission to the Fair Work Commission to increase the wages of people who are on the minimum wage and successfully argued for the result, which was a 5.2% increase.
“That’s why we ensured that the pension increases and increases for those in social security have occurred this month.”
Albanese’s comments come after Suicide Prevention Australia release its annual State of the Nation report which found that 40 per cent of Australians reported that the pressure from the rising cost-of-living and personal debt is causing them elevated distress when compared with this time last year.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said the country needs to be prepared to address the growing rates of distress as cost of living pressures worsen.
“Feeding the family and keeping a roof over our heads are two of the most basic human behaviours. While inflation and interest rates keep rising, we must be prepared and proactive to prevent mental distress and suicide rates from doing the same,” Murray said.
Suicide Prevention Australia looks forward to working with the incoming Albanese Government to reduce distress and continue the focus on #SuicidePrevention. Our National Policy Platform outlines the key priorities for the incoming government #auspol #alboPM pic.twitter.com/EyGhUlt5rq
— Suicide Prevention Australia (@SuicidePrevAU) May 23, 2022
Seniors were provided with some relief from the growing pressures associated with the cost of living, after the government announced age pension payments are set to increase from September 20 in what will be the “largest indexation increase” for pensioners in 12 years.
The Age Pension will rise by $38.90 for singles and $58.80 for couples, per fortnight, making the maximum fortnightly pension rate $1026.50 for singles and $1574.60 for couples (or $773.80 for each person in a couple).
The Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment will see the same increase.
More than 4.7 million Australians will receive a much-needed boost to their social security payments from this month to help ease cost of living pressures.
Read more: https://t.co/Ze6p7K8IBH pic.twitter.com/dgm05pTvNW
— Amanda Rishworth MP (@AmandaRishworth) September 5, 2022
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the driving factor behind the rise, noting the CPI had surpassed the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index.
“We want to ensure Australia has a strong social security safety net to protect our most disadvantaged,” Rishworth said.
“Our guiding principles as a Government are ensuring no one is left behind and no one is held back and this indexation increase will help those on Government payments keep up with the cost of living.”
Rishworth said income and asset limits will change in response to the raise, to “ensure people are not disadvantaged”.
MENTAL HEALTH DISCLAIMER: If you or anyone you know needs help: Lifeline — 13 11 14; MensLine Australia — 1300 789 978; BeyondBlue — 1300 224 636; Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467; Headspace — 1800 650 890; Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800