The government will not “write checks” for the cost of living


Labor deputy treasurer Stephen Jones said Australians should expect a “rocky” 12 months as inflation bites.

The government will not be able to ‘write cheques’ to help address immediate cost of living issues for Australians despite soaring inflation.

Rising prices in domestic and international markets meant the country needed to prepare for tough times, Deputy Treasurer Stephen Jones said.

“There are a lot of things that are good about the Australian economy…but we’re going to have a very difficult 12 months, there’s no doubt about it,” he told ABC TV on Saturday.

Inflation is expected to peak at 7.75% in the December quarter of the year before falling to 5.5% by mid-2023, according to Treasury estimates revealed on Thursday.

Official figures for the June quarter showed inflation rising at an annual rate of 6.1%, the biggest increase since 2001.

Asked if cost-of-living relief could be expected in the October budget, Mr Jones said Labor could not continue to simply ‘write cheques’ as the previous government.

“We inherited a debt worth $1 billion and the interest on it now goes home,” he said.

“We will now be spending more money to pay down the previous government’s debt than we do on many of our health care programs.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has repeatedly watered any expectation that a temporary reduction in fuel excise duties to mitigate high gasoline prices would be extended beyond September.

On Wednesday, he warned that continuing the tax relief for another six months would cost the budget about $3 billion.

Mr Jones said Labor would focus on improving the skills of the workforce and ensuring the country has a strong energy market to help weather economic challenges.


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