Western Australians struggling with the rising cost of living are invited to share their experiences with a Senate Committee tasked with exploring the escalating crisis.
The Coalition recently voted to establish the Select Committee on the Cost of Living, aimed at better understanding cost of living pressure points and developing sensible solutions to ease them.
Senator for Western Australia Dean Smith joins Shadow Finance Minister Senator Jane Hume on the Committee, each representing both the Coalition and its Shadow Economic Team.
Members of the public, businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations, the construction, banking, energy and agricultural sectors are among those being asked to make submissions to the Committee, which will also investigate the Albanese Government’s fiscal policy response to the crisis.
In addition to holding public hearings, the Committee will visit communities across the State and country to learn from Australians first-hand.
Senator Smith called for a broad range of Western Australian submissions.
“The skyrocketing cost of living and its associated challenges are the biggest issue currently facing Australians and I am interested in hearing from a WA perspective, especially those living in regional areas of our State,” Senator Smith said.
“The seriousness of the situation facing local families, businesses and organisations makes the establishment and work of the Cost of Living Committee vitally important.
“All of these stakeholders have been abandoned by Labor, which failed the Budget test last week by not delivering an adequate cost of living relief plan.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed an annual increase of between nine and 10 percent in food prices across household types nationally, with fruit and vegetables up 15.5 percent in WA, and fuel prices rising around 18 percent.
As the Coalition’s spokesperson on charities, Senator Smith said he was also heavily focused on the effect of high inflation and living costs on organisations in that sector.
An Anglicare Report released as part of Anti-Poverty Week found dramatic rises in the cost of living, particularly in rent, are driving an ever-growing demand for its services.
The need for half of Anglicare’s services jumped by one-third or more.
Similarly, Foodbank’s annual Hunger Report found 21 percent of Australians – more than 2 million people – had experienced severe food insecurity in the past 12 months.
This figure was up from 17 percent in its 2021 Report.
“Climbing living costs have seen many charities and non-for-profits experiencing an unprecedented upswing in demand,” Senator Smith said.
“We want to hear from the charity and philanthropic sector, with all its experience and insight, about how we can best navigate this situation together.
“The pressure on low-income earners in particular has never been greater and, especially in the absence of meaningful support from Labor, we must explore every responsible relief option possible.”
The Committee is calling for submissions by 10 March 2023 and is due to table its final report later in the year.
Further information about the Committee, including the terms of reference and how to make a submission are available at: