Ladies, gentlemen, and enbies of all ages, we may actually have a good Monday on our hands. That’s right, the news is not a total utter dumpster fire. But what’s making the here and now so special? After all, we’re slugging through a cost of living crisis that’s hurting everything from rental prices to the price of a humble watermelon. Whelp, it’s because Labor has promised to do something about said crisis. And here’s a list of the biggest commitments they’ve dropped:
Welfare Payments Are About to Be Increased
If you’re a Centrelink kid or on the Parenting Payment scheme, your fortnightly payments are about to go up. As per the ABC, childless folks over 22 years old will get an extra $25.70 every two weeks. If you have a partner and don’t have any kids, that increase is instead $23.40.
Meanwhile, single parents on the Parenting Payment are getting an extra $38.90 each fortnight. If you’re a part of a couple, that increase is again $23.40.
In regards to this situation, the Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, was reported by The Guardian saying, “It’s really important that our payments keep up with inflation. That’s why they’re indexed twice a year, and every little bit helps. This indexation will be particularly big this month, because inflation is particularly challenging.”
He also noted, “We know that it won’t solve every problem for everybody, but it’s important that we try and make sure that those payments keep up. That’s what the indexation is about. It will be welcome even as we acknowledge that times will still be tough for a lot of people.”
However, not everyone was impressed with this update. For instance, the Acting Chief Executive for the Australian Council of Social Service, Edwina MacDonald, believes that more needs to be done. She stated, “Currently jobseeker is at $46.00 a day, youth allowance is at $38.00 a day and what we need in order to bring it up to the poverty line, is to bring it up to at least $70.00 a day.”
Will the Vocational Education Sector Get a Boost?
Our vocational education system is hopefully about to get a big bump. In fact, according to The Australian, it might get a $3.7 billion bump over the next five years.
But what will this money be spent on? Great question, it’ll be used to streamline said education system. “Australia’s qualifications system has been largely unchanged since the 1990s and is no longer fit-for-purpose,” explained our Skills Minister, Brendan O’Connor. “Due to transferable skills being poorly recognised, students may need to undertake duplicate additional training that delivers similar skills to those they already have in order to move into a new job.”
O’Connor also noted, “The Albanese government will work with states and territories, unions and industry to make the qualifications system easier to understand, and focused on giving Australians transferable and relevant skills they need now and in the future.”
At the moment, the figure of $3.7 billion is being discussed by O’Connor and Chalmers. We’ll keep you posted if this amount ends up getting locked in.
Labor Wants to Cancel Petrol Price Gouging
Here are some unsavoury facts. First of all, petrol prices around the planet are through the roof. Secondly, a useful initiative that slashed Aussie petrol prices will expire at the end of the month. However, The Guardian has noted that Chalmers is being proactive in trying to make this situation not spin out of control. This is because he wrote a letter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make sure consumers aren’t charged unjustifiable petrol prices.
This letter requested that this organisation “investigate any concerns arising about misrepresentations regarding petrol prices, false and misleading conduct or anti-competitive conduct in fuel markets, and to take appropriate action.” This is because he doesn’t want petrol companies in Australia to “take advantage of the expiry of the fuel excise reduction to penalise consumers.”
On September 5, Chalmers additionally released a statement declaring, “Refiners, importers, wholesalers, and retailers should consider themselves on notice: The ACCC is keeping a very close eye on fuel prices across the country to make sure any increases are justifiable.”