Adjournment: Cost of Living
My adjournment is for the Premier, and the action I seek is for the Premier to go further and faster in reducing cost-of-living pressures on Victorians. So many Victorians, in particular young people, are facing rising housing, transport, energy and day-to-day living costs along with flatlining wages.
The Premier said he does not have a magic wand to wave when it comes to the cost of living, but I want to put on the record a number of practical measures the Premier could take to reduce the cost of living. Housing costs, rents in particular, are rising fast. Young people are looking at the prospect of never being able to afford their own home. I urge the government to take strong action, to put controls on rents and cap unfair and excessive rent increases and also to reverse their decision to cave into the property industry by dumping their social housing levy, which would have paid for thousands of public and affordable homes.
Petrol prices are sky high. The government needs to seize the opportunity and support people to make the shift to cleaner, cheaper forms of transport, make public transport temporarily free, encourage people back onto public transport and give incentives for people, particularly on low incomes, to make the shift out of their petrol guzzling, expensive-to-run cars and into cheaper-to-run electric vehicles.
When it comes to education, we have got so-called free public education in this state; well, it is not free. Look at uniform costs, textbooks, digital devices and subject costs. These should be essential parts of the curriculum, and schools need to be properly funded so parents and families are not lumped with the costs of what should be a free education.
When it comes to energy, lowering energy costs means getting homes off gas, not connecting them to gas, as is now occurring. All of these rising costs are occurring at a time of flatlining wages. The government needs to abolish its public sector wages cap, which is suppressing wages across our entire economy.