Questions Without Notice: Cost of Living

06 March 2023

Ms BYRNES (Cunningham) (14:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. What steps has the government taken to ease the pressures on Australian families, and is there any opposition to these measures?

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the member for Cunningham for her question. It was good to be with the member for Cunningham in Wollongong, at the university there, just a week ago, and to be with the state Labor candidates there in Wollongong as well—as well as in Kiama and on the South Coast. It's just like it was good to be with Chris Minns yesterday at the Labor launch. I look forward to the Leader of the Opposition's contribution at the Liberal Party launch next Sunday. I look forward to the red carpet being rolled out there this Sunday.

Our biggest priority this year is making sure that Australians have economic security and stability. That's why we're putting in place measures to take pressure off families, so they can plan ahead. We've already acted, but there's more to come. Cheaper medicines came in on 1 January. Cheaper child care starts on 1 July. Today, through the Senate this morning, I can inform the House that we passed changes to paid parental leave to allow for more flexibility and easier access for families, particularly for single parents. We're getting wages moving again. We've got more affordable housing. We are implementing our Energy Price Relief Plan, which was opposed by those opposite. They opposed that $1.5 billion. And right around Australia there are young people and older workers being retrained through our Fee-Free TAFE plan—some 180,000 of them. And, this week in parliament, we'll be progressing our National Reconstruction Fund. It's very important to address the supply chain issues, which the Reserve Bank have identified as being responsible for half or up to two thirds of the inflationary pressures in the economy.

That's our plan. We have a positive plan going forward. Those opposite just have one answer to everything: no. They say no to manufacturing jobs through the National Reconstruction Fund. They say no to the Housing Australia Future Fund and additional housing for women and children escaping domestic violence. They say no to power price relief for households. They say no to making super stronger for the future. They say no to ending the climate wars and to adopting their own mechanism—their own mechanism that they put in place. There are no improvements, no alternatives, no ideas—just no.