The Treasurer is striving to provide optimism to a welfare user who has just $20 in her possession about when her bleak fight to live would end.
Fiona, who was watching Jim Chalmers’ post-budget solo appearance on QandA in the ABC studio audience, said that rising costs had completely depleted her bank account & forced her to choose between buying food and buying medication.
Fiona emphasized that even while the Age, Carer, and Disability Support Pensioners would get an increase of $38.90 a fortnight for singles and $58.80 for couples, it still won’t be enough to keep up with the inflationary spiral.
What necessities should I be removing from my budget because I get welfare and am supposed to be thankful for that rise? She enquired of Dr. Chalmers.
The Treasurer reacted by stating that Australia’s largest problem is the “rising cost of living,” which disproportionately affects the most needy.
He acknowledged that the automatic adjustments that increase welfare users’ pay to assist with inflation would only provide little comfort.
Dr. Chalmers remarked, “I know that’s not always enough, I know that’s frequently not enough.”
We must figure out how to provide that cost of living assistance in a sensible manner.
“How can we give them money without making the inflation situation worse,” is actually what I’m worried about.
With a shocking surge in the annual pace of price rises to 7.3 percent, which was much beyond market estimates, near-term inflation projections have been completely destroyed.
The result was the highest for Australia since 1990 and indicated that prices were rising at a rate that was nearly three times faster than wage growth. This increased expectations for the predicted inflationary peak from 7.75 to 8 percent.
Consumer price index (CPI), which measures the cost of goods and services for average households, increased by 1.8 percent in the most recent quarter, above the market expectation of 1.6 percent.
Fiona said that the additional inflation-indexed pension benefits she would get were “still falling behind and playing catch-up.”
She admitted that since her doctor no longer bulk billed after she had an eye scan, she was unable to see him.
Tomorrow is pension day, and I do have $20 since it arrived late for some reason, Fiona stated.
“$20 in the bank account for tomorrow’s pension day and we’re working extremely hard and shifting about.”
When asked when Fiona’s situation may improve, the Treasurer found it difficult to express any optimism.
Dr. Chalmers said, “I don’t want to pretend to Fiona or anybody in Fiona’s situation that the budget from nine nights ago addressed all of these difficulties.”
He said that the government had a program to get “wages moving” and that the budget offered some cost-of-living assistance in sectors including medication, healthcare, daycare, and parental leave.
He did, however, warn that things might worse before improving.
The Reserve Bank and Treasury anticipate that inflation would worsen somewhat until the end of the year before beginning to reduce, he added.
According to Dr. Chalmers, he accepted “responsibility” for the role he was performing.
“We have had individuals in positions like mine for far too long who act as if they have nothing to do with it,” he remarked.
I take responsibility for the budgets I create, and the most important thing I can do for Fiona and the Australian people is to allow the inflation to spiral out of control.