The Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas has repeated his call that the State Government should be doing more to help families cope with the rapidly rising cost of living in the May State budget given the latest 0.25% rise in official interest rates announced today.
“We have now seen ten consecutive interest rate rises that have lifted official rates from 0.1% in May 2022 to 3.6% today” Dr Thomas said.
“Obviously this has had a dramatic effect on people repaying loans in this state, and many families are struggling to pay their bills” Dr Thomas said.
“Given the massive income the State Government continues to receive it can and should do more to help people cope with the continuing increases in their daily costs.”
Dr Thomas said that the Opposition had repeatedly proposed actions to support struggling Western Australian families that were targeted and produced minimal inflationary pressure.
“The Premier has rejected our calls to freeze government fees and charges, and to increase funding for the not-for-profit sector who are the first line of support for families on the brink” Dr Thomas said.
Dr Thomas said the Government is hitting new homeowners with a double whammy of economic pain while sitting on another multi-billion-dollar budget surplus this year.
“Not only are interest rates rising, but Mark McGowan’s own poorly managed infrastructure spend is has been driving up construction costs for home builders by competing with them for labour and materials. Those increases have damaged both homeowners and builders alike.”
“Hopeful homeowners are having to pay higher interest rates on higher total costs because they are competing with a Government that is rolling in cash from iron ore royalties.
“But at the same time contracting issues on Government projects have damaged industry viability to the point that new Government projects are also struggling to find builders, many of whose own viability is threatened to the point of a choice between closure or insolvency.”
“It has been an economically perverse reversal of Keynsian economics” Dr Thomas said. “John Maynard Keynes called for increased Government spending in times of recession to boost the economy, and to pay off that extra spending in better economic times.
“Instead, the Premier is increasing his Asset Investment Plan by billions in the middle of the biggest boom in our history, and at a time of massive demand and a shortage of labour and materials.”
“The outcome for our state has been another boom-and-bust cycle in construction brought on in part by a Government that should be committed to flattening the cycle instead of exacerbating it.”
“Proper management of Government asset investment would help stabilise the construction industry. The next bust cycle might be just around the corner, and a proper plan is needed.”