KSrelief Concludes Anti-Blindness Campaign in Garoua, Cameroon, by Conducting 423 Surgeries    KSrelief Dispatches Over 100 Relief Trucks to Yemen Through Al-Wadiah Land Port    Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Mozambique on Anniversary of his Country's Independence Day    HRH Crown Prince Tour of Egypt, Jordan & Turkiye is not Just a Protocol One, Says Saudi Press    FIFA Accredits Saudi Football Association Among Expert Federations in VAR Tech    Saudi Arabia reaffirms commitment to women empowerment Economic participation by Saudi females up 94% in 3 years    Two killed as electric car falls from third floor of Shanghai office building    US Senate passes first gun control bill in decades    Talking to the Taliban 'only way forward' in Afghanistan    Monkeypox: Amid uncertainty, global situation cannot be ignored, says WHO chief    Saudi Ambassador to Tunisia Takes Part in Tunisia Forum for Investment    10-year jail, SR10m fine for distributing adulterated food among pilgrims    Al-Hilal one win away from 3rd SPL title in a row    Anthony Joshua defends Saudi Arabia when asked about 'sportswashing'    Saudi Arabia, Djibouti Sign Joint Cooperation Agreement on Maritime Transport    Blood transfusion at IMC for patient with complex condition qualifies him for surgery    GCC Food Safety Committee Holds its Sixth Meeting    Flyadeal Launches First Direct Flight to Khartoum    Saudi Stock Market Index Ends Down at Level of 11310.67 Points    Energy security crucial to growth of nations, Saudi minister says    Al-Khorayef visits London Metal Exchange    NEOM launches program to develop next generation of Saudi football talent    Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Visits London Metal Exchange    Belgian blogger: Saudi Arabia is safer than America and Europe    Alfanar partners to sponsor the 'Global Innovation Award in Water Desalination'    KAPSARC, SAEE join hands to increase local participation in the 44th IAEE Conference    'Runaway' status can be rectified without employer's consent: MHRSD    US swimmer Anita Alvarez rescued by coach after fainting in pool American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued from the bottom of the pool by her coach after fainting at the World Aquatics Championships.    Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall are to split: US media    SFDA Extends Period for Submitting Requests for Compliance Forms for Food Transportation during Hajj    GASTAT: Saudi Arabia's overall merchandise exports increased by 98.0% in April 2022    CITC Publishes Public Consultation on Regulatory Framework for NTN, Information Document for NTN Spectrum Auction    UN agencies rush to aid Afghanistan following deadly quake    Celebrating the union of body and soul: UN marks International Yoga Day    Jeddah is Set to Host the Finals of World Boxing in August, Organizers Announce    President of AFC Congratulates Saudi Olympic Team on Winning Asia Cup U23    Saudi National Olympic Team Crowned AFC U23 Asian Cup    Samrat Prithviraj: Why did a Bollywood film on a popular Hindu king fail?    Saudi Film "The Journey" Wins Best Experimental Film at Dutch Septimius Awards    ALECSO Director: Islamic Arts Biennale Is Extension of Saudi Arabia's Cultural Movement    Saudi Council of Senior Scholars slams Indian ruling party leader's remarks against Prophet    Diriyah Biennale Foundation Announces Hajj Terminal in Jeddah as Location for First-ever Islamic Arts Biennale    Drug charges dropped against Shah Rukh Khan's son    Shoura members propose equal blood money for men and women, Muslim and non-Muslim    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Cost of living bites as Australians head to polls
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 05 - 2022

Across Australia household budgets are being tightly squeezed, with the cost of living soaring to an eye-watering 21-year high.
Rising prices will be a pivotal concern for voters as they head to the polls on Saturday.
Although not surging as high as in other countries at 5.1%, Australia's inflation rate is outstripping wage growth (2.3%) meaning people have less money in their pockets every month.
In the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, 12 kilometers (seven miles) from the center of the nation's biggest city, almost everyone I meet is worried about the rising cost of rent, food, fuel, and other essentials.
"I am a single mum with two kids. The childcare - everything - is very expensive. (It is) stressful sometimes," says Diana, who lives nearby.
Meanwhile, at a busy grocery shop she runs on the main street, Summer Hamze is organizing deliveries. She tells me that many of her customers can barely keep up with the price rises she's forced to pass on from her suppliers.
"With the inflation, actually, we do need the government to get that under control because it is out of control," she tells the BBC. "It is just rising and rising and rising, and people are getting really scared these days."
Given inflation is largely being driven by market forces such as higher global shipping and energy prices, in Lakemba, opinion is divided over how much can be done by the next government.
"It is in their hands, because they know the economic factors, everything," says one man. "So, they know how to handle the situation."
"Nah, I don't think anyone can do anything," he says. "Even if they change the government, I don't think anything will happen because the banks will do their thing."
Earlier this month, Australia's Reserve Bank (RBA) increased interest rates (by 0.25% to 0.35%) for the first time in more than 11 years - the first hike in the middle of an election campaign since 2007.
Rates were held at historic lows during the Covid-19 pandemic in a bid to encourage Australians to keep spending. But as inflation surges and the economic recovery post-Covid gets underway, the RBA is applying the brakes to stop the economy overheating. It is making money more expensive to borrow.
More interest rate increases are expected in the months ahead. That's good for savers, but it's estimated that 300,000 Australians could default on their mortgages as repayments increase.
So, whichever candidate wins the election at the weekend they will have to navigate choppy economic waters.
Scott Morrison, the prime minister, whose centre-right coalition has been in power for almost a decade, has slammed his main challenger, opposition candidate, Anthony Albanese, as a "loose unit" on the economy
"It is like he just unzips his head and let's everything fall on the table. That is no way to run an economy," thundered Morrison.
In response, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Australian economy was "crying out for leadership and reform" but was getting neither from the current administration. Albanese wants an increase to the minimum wage of at least 5.1%, to keep pace with inflation.
Almost two-thirds of Australians say reducing the cost-of-living should be the top priority for the next government, according to recent analysis.
Professor Nicholas Biddle from the Australian National University (ANU) says rising prices were "high on the minds" of many voters of various political persuasions.
"This outranks all other major policy considerations," he says. "Interestingly, we found this was a view held by people who said they would vote for Labor, for people who said they would vote for (Scott Morrison's) Coalition and for those who weren't planning on voting for either party".
Fixing Australia's nursing home system for older people and strengthening the nation's economy were the other top priorities among more than 3,500 voters surveyed by the ANU.
Key economic decisions have been outsourced to independent bodies (such as the RBA, which sets official interest rates), or are dictated by the demand and supply of goods and services, both in Australia and overseas.
But the national government does wield considerable influence on the fate of the economy through its tax and spending policies, for example. Massive wage subsidies and other stimulus measures during the darkest days of the pandemic did protect jobs and businesses in Australia.
However, with three-year parliamentary terms in Canberra, some academics argue that federal politicians can be distracted by almost constant electioneering and exaggerate their control over the economy.
"One of the problems Australia has is its short parliaments, which means they are almost perpetually in this cycle of gathering votes.
"If a government is always worrying about the political cycle then when do they have time to knuckle down and really get things done," says Michelle Baddeley, a professor of economics at the University of Technology, Sydney.
"I think, yes, there is a bit of claiming more ground than they really can control," she says. "The reality is a bit of a mixture because certainly, and Covid illustrated this pretty well, governments can do a lot in terms of spending money to generate employment in the short-term."
Australia has a small, open economy that thrives on confidence.
And ultimately, it's individuals that collectively power an economy, but governments with vision are able to foster enterprise, innovation, and prosperity.
"There is a lot of catching up to do in terms of growth, in terms of opportunity, and, indeed government can set the pace," explains Peter Khoury, from the NRMA, a large motoring and transport company.
"As long as there is confidence in the economy and in the strength of the economy, Australian entrepreneurs and businesses will invest."
"Economically speaking, Australia will come out of Covid better than most countries. So, you don't want to miss that opportunity," he adds.
Australians voters will soon decide who they trust to help steer their country through the recovery - and beyond - for the next three years. — BBC

Clic here to read the story from its source.