We are currently living atop a Jenga tower made of crises. We have the gas crisis, the global food crisis, and the cost of living crisis, just to name a few. It really feels like sometimes it’s just all going to topple over and the wooden pieces won’t fit back inside the box.
But we’re not living in The Purge movies on Purge day. We have a government that can theoretically help us out during such trying times. So, what is Labor doing to take care of its citizens during these crises? And if they’re doing nothing, what should they be doing instead?
Thanks to Vladimir Putin’s war, a freezing winter, and a number of other no-good factors, Australia’s gas prices are sky-high. Some experts believe that these prices won’t impact everyday Australians, while others are less hopeful about the situation.
On June 8, Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen teamed up with his state and territory equivalents to work out how to mitigate this disaster. What they came up with was to give Australia’s energy market operator the power to buy and store gas, so a shortfall doesn’t happen. According to the Goulburn Post, this is just one of eleven proposed measures.
As per the ABC, Bowen said, “There’s storage facilities around the country, we agreed to work to give AEMO that power and to give them that power expeditiously.” He also noted, “That won’t work today — but it will give us the capacity and the tools necessary to manage this crisis going forward and to avoid crises like this into the future.”
Global Food Crisis
Across the globe, a lot of folks aren’t receiving enough food to live the long and safe lives that they deserve. Again, this is somewhat thanks to Putin. In 2022, Ukraine’s wheat yield will probably be down by 35%. The Guardian reported that the UN’s Secretary General António Guterres said that this war might “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity.”
Unlike some other countries, Australia isn’t on the brink of a food-shortage apocalypse. However, our food prices have also risen and made some basic foods inaccessible for the poorest members of our communities. In an article by The Age, they stated that beef and veal prices have risen by 12.1%. Moreover, even vegetables in this country have gone up by 12.7%.
On June 3, the Daily Mail stated that the Labor Government had called upon the Fair Work Commission to increase the minimum wage by 5.1%. If this increase happens, then more people will be able to afford more food. However, the Pursuit argued that Labor can take some additional actions to tackle food insecurity, such as creating a new Minister for Food. This minister could deal with food-related issues in a hands-on, practical manner.
Oh goodie, another one. Australia’s interest rate has recently gone up by 0.85%. This news is bad for anyone with a mortgage, as their monthly payments might go up between $87 and $200 per month. Moreover, it’s also bad for some renters. If a landlord is still paying off their mortgage, then they’ll just pass on this price hike to their tenants.
So, what will Labor do about this situation? Hopefully something! The Guardian detailed that Anthony Albanese’s cabinet had a meeting on July 9 that discussed Australia’s cost of living crisis. He said, “We’ve been in government now for just a little bit over two weeks. These pressures have built up over nine years and… the former government had a policy of deliberately keeping wages low at a time when the cost of living and the price of everything was going up.”
Albanese also added, “My government does not have that policy. My government has a policy of doing what we can to assist cost of living pressures.” We’ll keep you posted if any cost of living policies are announced.