Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas has repeated his call that the State Government should be doing more to help families with the rapidly rising cost of living given the release of the latest Consumer Price Index figures from the ABS today.
“Today’s numbers show Perth had the highest quarterly CPI rise of all capital cities, up 3.6% since the September figure” Dr Thomas said. “Perth also had the second highest annual CPI increase at 8.3%, beaten only by Adelaide and well ahead of the national average of 7.6%.”
“Today’s numbers have again highlighted the cost-of-living crisis here in Western Australia, where the Government has a greater capacity than anywhere else in the country, perhaps the world, to minimise the impact.”
Dr Thomas said that despite the Premier’s scare campaign on the downside risk to the state’s economy, most economists predict a soft landing here in WA and his budget surplus still looks rosy.
“Iron ore royalties have underpinned massive budget surpluses in the last two years, and this year is also looking far stronger than the doom and gloom coming from the Premier/Treasurer in order to hose down demands” Dr Thomas said.
“The iron ore price is over US$121 today, which is US$34 above the mid-year budget prediction of US$87.40 and US$44 over last year’s budget prediction of US$77.”
“That means that the royalty income has already been revised up $2 billion between the budget and the mid-year review, and the Government will have to revise it up again unless a massive correction comes soon.”
“Another multi-billion surplus is on its way for 2022-23, probably in the order of $4 billion.”
“Given this, the Premier needs to act in the next budget to provide cost-of-living relief, especially to minimise the imposts they themselves put on people in terms of fees and charges.”
“I have previously called for a freeze in fees and charges when our budget surpluses hit $6 billion, but the McGowan Government has steadfastly refused to consider it. They have instead opted for electricity grants as their preferred option.”
“If that is the case it is time for another one to support struggling Western Australian households.”
Given the extra wealth the Premier is receiving, the minimum response should be that the next state budget must contain more targeted support for struggling households. After all it is ultimately their money, not Mark McGowan’s.”
“These numbers also increase the likelihood of another interest rate rise for people to have to manage.