Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has teased measures aimed at providing much-needed relief for Australians grappling with the rising cost of living.
The revelations come at a crucial time when households across the nation are feeling the pinch, prompting the government to explore innovative solutions to ease financial burdens.
During his first press conference for 2024, Albanese said the government wants to offer support to Australians “who are feeling pressure as a result of global inflation”.
“This has had an impact. Australians, of course, were hit by the pandemic and then they were hit by global inflation, which was a result of two global impacts,” he explained.
“One was the ongoing supply issues related to the pandemic, and the second of course, was the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine that had an impact on prices here as they did right around the world. So we’re very conscious about those cost-of-living pressures.
“That’s why we have introduced a range of measures, including fee-free TAFE, but in addition to that, our energy price relief plan, our plan that has made an enormous difference in reducing the price of medicines. That’s why we’ve also undertaken increases in rent relief, for example, the largest increase in rent assistance for 30 years, along with other measures that we took assisting single mums, assisting others.”
We’re rolling out 300,000 more fee-free TAFE places to help students train for a good job without worrying about the cost.
We’re working hard to strengthen Medicare and we’re starting the year with all 58 of our free Urgent Care Clinics up and running. pic.twitter.com/0XwViHqvDO
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 3, 2024
When pushed for specifics, Albanese revealed that he has requested “Treasury and Finance” to consider what measures “can take pressure off families on cost-of-living without putting pressure on inflation”.
“That’s the key issue here. If you were just to distribute additional cash to people, you potentially make inflation worse, and therefore don’t help to solve the problem – that is the objective,” he said.
“And that’s why, for example, in the energy price relief plan we designed, it has actually been more effective than what was predicted and anticipated.
“Because instead of giving cheques to people, it reduced their bills substantially and we worked that through with Treasury and Finance and it made a substantial difference in a reduction of wholesale prices.”
While Albanese may have been hoping to project an air of optimism, his words appeared to do little to placate Aussies who are struggling to make ends meet.
Lol! I expect nothing short of skyrocketing expenses everywhere.
— Barely Afloat (@musicndcomedy) January 3, 2024
Maybe give tax payers back the billion dollars you wasted on the “voice”. You can take it out of your immigration budget. That would be a start.
— HappyAgain (@HappyAgain222) January 3, 2024
unveiled later this year , in time for the next election
— Christine Taylor (@chrisnoonan54) January 3, 2024
You’ve had 18 months to do something!! Unveil your plans NOW or suffer the wrath voters struggling to make ends meet !!
— Dane Stronach (@DaneStronach) January 3, 2024
Later this year? Really? Maybe the Prime Minister and all his cabinet should live on what welfare recipients or people on the minimum wage live on for a month…
— Kate (@kateac777) January 3, 2024
While Australians wait with bated breath for some form of assistance to materialise, many are no doubt hoping for concrete steps to be put in place to ease the strain on wallets.