Media release – Sarah Lovell MLC, Shadow Minister for Community Services and Development, 10 January 2023

Cost of living crisis worsens as Liberal Government does nothing

New data from the ABS shows non-discretionary spending on things like groceries has increased a massive 16.8 per cent in Tasmania in the past year.

Clearly, the cost of living crisis is completely out of control.

And with power prices soaring thanks to the Liberals’ broken promise on energy, a recent report from the UTAS Institute for Social Change highlights what Labor has been saying for months: Tasmanians are being forced to choose between heating and eating.

The Tasmania Project Cost of Living Survey has revealed 51 per cent of Tasmanian households, more than 280,000 people, have recently experienced food insecurity, which is nearly double the rate recorded in May 2021.

The survey report shows that 20 per cent of Tasmanians have very low food security, meaning they are regularly skipping meals and going hungry for long periods of time.

This is nearly triple the levels reported by the same survey in 2021.

One survey respondent commented, “I can buy a pack of 6 doughnuts from Woolworths for $2 when on special or 6 apples for $6.50… too often the deciding factor is money and feeling ‘full’.”

Another comment stated, “I sacrifice my portions to my husband as he is currently the income earner.”

Tasmania currently relies on an emergency food relief model to address food insecurity. However, only 10 per cent of food insecure households have sought emergency food relief from a food bank. On top of this, we know our food banks are also struggling to keep up with demand. This means that even with the low percentage of uptake our food security safety net is woefully under-resourced and could easily be tipped beyond breaking point.

Minister Street last year announced that he was finalising an “Action Plan” to implement the Food Security Strategy 2021-24, yet it remains draft form. It’s now 2023 and Tasmanians are doing it tougher than ever.

The Liberals have actively made the cost of living crisis worse by breaking their promise on energy and refusing to support Labor’s plan to cap power prices – a measure that would save households $500 a year.

Tasmanians deserve a Government that can deliver for households, especially those struggling with the cost of living crisis, rather than one that refuses to cap power prices and which is obsessed with building a taxpayer funded stadium in Hobart.