When it comes to hearing about the issues impacting people in Wannon, there is no substitute for getting out directly and talking to people face to face - and that is exactly what I have been doing. This week I will be out and about in Ararat and Beaufort.
A common theme I have been hearing from you is how the cost of living pressures impact your lives, from your usual grocery shop getting more expensive to concerns about the ever-increasing interest rates on home loans and rising power prices. Everything is going up and up and up.
Unfortunately, the latest report by the Energy Market Operator, AEMO, confirms our worst fears that Labor is heading towards a gas and energy crisis in Australia.
Electricity prices continue to spiral out of control under Labor, with new increases of up to 23.7 per cent for households and 25.7 per cent for small businesses now announced. This comes on top of increases announced in Victoria earlier this week by an average of 31.1 per cent for households and an enormous 33.2 per cent for small businesses.
Labor’s electricity increases will force more Australian families onto hardship programs because of the Government’s failures. More small businesses – the backbone of our economy – will be forced onto a knife’s edge, fighting for survival.
The Prime Minister promised on ninety-seven occasions to reduce Australians’ electricity prices by $275. The government has broken that commitment to you, and instead, you keep seeing your power prices going up, not down. The Prime Minister refuses now even to mention the $275 promise, and it is hurting those who can least afford it.
I hear you say that our community is doing it tough, and it is becoming harder for families to make ends meet. I do not think the Labor government understands how tough it is for households and the human impact of their failure to manage Australia’s energy market.
As winter draws near, I have genuine concerns that individuals and families in Wannon who are doing it tough will not turn on the heater for fear of their energy bill.
The Albanese Labor Government simply does not have an energy plan to counter the current conditions – and its current plan of market interventions will simply reduce supply and increase prices over the longer term.
Along with my colleagues in Canberra, I will continue fighting labour actions that hike inflation and deliver additional cost burdens to households and businesses.
The Federal Labor Government must step up and act to ease pressure on the cost of living and ensure its cost-of-living agenda drives prices down, not up.