Page 84 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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Economy—cost of living pressures

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter,
Ms Le Couteur, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Hanson be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

Cost of living pressures on Canberra families.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (4.25): I rise today to talk about a matter that is very important to many Canberrans, particularly Canberra families—that is, the struggle that so many people have to run their households, to feed their families, to send their children to childcare and to maintain their health. Today’s motion is really about Mr and Mrs Average—Mr Average or Ms Average, if they are single—and the pressure that this government is putting on them with their out-of-touch policies and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money.

It is a timely issue, Mr Assistant Speaker. If you read today’s Canberra Times, there is an article that shows the real pressures that Canberra families are facing. It shows that CPI is simply one measure of inflation and that, for the majority of citizens, it is irrelevant as a measure of the impact of the rising cost of living that they face.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics cost of living indices—which look at different groups in the community, not just an average across all people—measure the impact of rising prices according to particular spending habits. The data show that the living costs for households whose main source of income is a salary or wage—and that is obviously the vast majority of those in the ACT—rose by 4.5 per cent over the last year compared to a CPI rise of 2.7 per cent. That is a significant difference.

For old age pensioners—pensioners and people who are on—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Excuse me, Mr Hanson. Ministers, could you keep the low hum down to a lower hum, please? Thank you.

MR HANSON: We know that they are already struggling to keep the roofs over their heads and cope with the increasing cost of living, but for them that cost of living rose 3.1 per cent, which represents a 48.4 per cent increase in the cost of living since 1998.

These statistics reflect what I am hearing from the community. I have been out and about as much as I can. I have been out doorknocking in Amaroo to listen to what young families have got to tell me. What you will hear from a lot of young families—a lot of the young mothers that are at home during the day—is that the cost of childcare in this town is simply outrageous. The median weekly cost for childcare is $345; that is $60 higher than the Australian average and $16 higher than it was last year.

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