Budget must fight inflation to deliver for all Australians

Tuesday, 09 May 2023

Treasurer Jim Chalmers must hand down a Budget that helps all Australians. The only way to do this is to rein in spending to tackle inflation.

Australians are feeling enormous pain from higher prices. Inflation is eating into Australians’ pay packets and causing the price of essential household goods and services to skyrocket.

Inflation comes from Canberra. After almost a year of inaction, Labor’s Budget must make bringing down inflation its number one priority. This helps all Australians because inflation does not discriminate.

With record revenue off the back of a strong economy inherited from the Coalition, it is not enough that the Treasurer delivers a surplus on Tuesday night. The test for the government is whether it can reduce spending to bring down inflation and not deteriorate the bottom line over the forward estimates.

Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said the best way to bring inflation down is not through higher taxes or government handouts but by reining in spending and embracing productivity reforms that improve Australians’ quality of life and grow the economy.

“A drover’s dog could deliver a surplus with the record revenue being served up to Labor as part of this Budget,” Mr Taylor said.

“Labor should focus on not just delivering one surplus but maintaining it over the forward estimates as well. The only way this government can do that is by putting the interests of Australians first and resisting traditional Labor principles of higher taxes and higher spending.

“The challenge of inflation is that spending more just makes it worse. Fighting inflation with handouts is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. The government must address the source of inflation, not the symptoms.

“If the Labor Government was serious about tackling inflation, it would build on the Coalition’s strong economic management and restore the fiscal guardrails to the Budget, including restoring the goal of budget balance into the Budget and the tax-to-GDP cap.

“If Labor does not get spending under control, the Budget will drive more inflation. Unless the government limits spending, Labor will add to the cost of your mortgage, your rent, your groceries and just about everything else Australians are spending their hard-earned money on.”

Shadow Minister for Finance Senator Jane Hume said reducing inflation should be a specific policy of Labor’s Budget.

“Tackling inflation is the only sustainable cost of living relief for all Australians,” Senator Hume said.

“Inflation is a thief in the night. When inflation is high, it erodes your purchasing power, eats away at your savings, and it lowers your standard of living. Labor must stop this theft and protect our standard of living.

“If they do not, Jim Chalmers will simply be waving the white flag on the cost of living and leaving Australian households to suffer. That’s not good enough; that’s not governing.

“Australian households are making tough decisions about their own budgets right now. Jim Chalmers and Anthony Albanese must show they are prepared to do the same.”