My adjournment matter is for the Premier, and the action I seek is for the government to take urgent and stronger action across the whole of government to reduce the cost of living for Victorians. Victorians are struggling – struggling to pay the rent or mortgage; pay the bills; put food on the table; send their kids to school; afford transport; or see a bulk-billing GP, a dentist or a mental health professional. Workers have experienced the biggest real wage cut on record. People are being forced to make a choice between paying the rent or putting food on the table, putting off accessing health care because they cannot afford it and dipping into what savings they have to cover essentials or seek emergency relief. Everyone is feeling the pinch, but more and more people are being pushed to the margins and into poverty. Young people in particular are being done over – still facing insecure work, forced to cut essentials, experiencing financial stress and facing a future of high rents and permanent insecure housing.
It is galling that while everyday Victorians struggle, big banks and profiteering corporations continue to make record profits – driving up the cost of living, deliberately making people pay more for essentials or pay more for their mortgage. People need systemic change that matches the scale of the problems, whether it is a freeze on rent increases; replacing stamp duty on homes; more public and affordable housing; improving access to cheaper and healthier food; more support for households to switch away from expensive gas; making public education genuinely free; employing more community GPs, dentists and psychologists; abolishing power bill debts; or making climate-friendly transport cheaper to access – whatever it takes, and make the profiteering corporations pay for it. Victorians cannot afford for things to get worse before they get better. This government needs to take urgent and stronger action across the whole of government now.