Premier must commit to urgent cost of living relief following surge in calls for food help

Jan 31, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

The McGowan Labor Government must commit to urgent cost of living relief to Western Australians following the release of new figures highlighting the spike in demand for basic services.

WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said the Premier can’t continue to turn a blind eye to the increasingly desperate position many Western Australians are finding themselves in.

“It’s extraordinary that in a state as prosperous as WA, that services such as Foodbank are reporting unprecedented demand because many simply can’t afford to put food on the table,” Ms Mettam said.

“In December last year, the service reported a 116% per cent increase in demand for services compared with December 2020, with more than 750 people seeking help on average every day last month.

“At the same time, the Premier has flagged another increase of 2.5% this year to household fees and charges – or an extra $150 for the average household.

“This will equate to $1000 per household that the McGowan Government has imposed in fees and charges since he came to power in 2017.”

Ms Mettam said the McGowan Government was out of touch with the hardships many Western Australians are facing and can afford to make a commitment to freeze fees and charges now and provide immediate relief, instead of putting it in the too hard basket until May.

“With more than $11 billion in surpluses over the past two years, why is he inflicting these fees and charges on Western Australians, when he’s got a pile of cash in the bank?”

“It’s extraordinary that at a time of record surplus he is effectively planning to take more money out of the pockets of Western Australians.”

Ms Mettam called on the Premier to immediately guarantee a freeze on household fees and charges this year and provide an electricity rebate similar to those provided previously.

“It’s inexcusable that in a state as wealthy as WA we have a working poor who are forced to choose between paying bills, sending their kids to school ready for a new year or putting food on the table.”

Fast facts:
• Foodbank served an average of 759 households every day in December, 2022, peaking at 914 households on December 2022.
• Foodbank reported a 116% increase in demand for services in December 2022 compared with December 2020.
• Foodbank highlights that over 116,000 children in WA lived in severely food insecure households in the last year and that 23% of households in WA with mortgages experienced food insecurity in the last year.