Struggling regions want action from Victorian Labor on cost of living: report

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MEDIA RELEASE – 10th November 2023

A report released by the Victorian Greens has revealed struggling regional communities want state government action on low incomes, better access to healthcare, and affordable food and housing as ways to relieve growing cost-of-living pressures.

Energy bills were confirmed as the most significant contributor to cost-of-living pressures for 49 per cent of respondents, followed closely by the cost of food at 46 per cent. Insurance and rent costs also ranked highly in the regions at 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. 

Accessing healthcare proved to be one of the biggest casualties of the cost-of-living crisis for people in the regions, with 51 per cent of respondents putting health needs aside because they simply can’t afford a visit to the dentist or doctor.

The results paint an even bleaker picture for younger people, with 77 per cent of respondents aged 18-25 unable to access healthcare due to cost-of-living pressures. 

Young people in the regions, in particular, were found to be struggling with food costs, with one-third of those aged 18 – 24 forced to access emergency relief for food and other essentials in the past year.

In response, late last month the Greens released a four-point plan to stop supermarket price gouging.

With people across the state struggling with unfair price hikes on everyday supermarket items, the Greens are calling on the Victorian Labor Government to:

  1. Declare groceries a regulated industry. To give the Essential Services Commission the power to prevent supermarket profiteering through price controls on essential items.
  2. Re-establish an Office for Prices. So the government is on your side and works with the community, not for profiteering corporations, to deter excessive price rises, with power to monitor, investigate and expose excessive price rises across the economy.
  3. Appoint a Minister for Fair Prices. To lead efforts across government to stop unfair price hikes, to take on profiteering corporations like the supermarket duopoly and to ensure the government can be held to account.
  4. Inquiry into food affordability. To look at ways to lower the cost of food and make sure that everyone has access to healthy, affordable food in Victoria. 

“It’s absolutely devastating to hear that people in the regions are experiencing poor mental and physical health and genuine hardship because they simply can’t afford bills, rent and to get basic food on the table.”

“People want the government to intervene. Yet the Victorian Labor Government is choosing not to act, despite having the powers to do so.”

“There are actions the Government can take right now to help turn things around, including protecting renters from out-of-control rent rises via a two-year rent freeze, followed by a permanent cap on rent increases.”

“This report shows us that food is another enormous cost pressure for people and families across the regions, and the major supermarkets are just making things worse by increasing the price of food and their profit margins at the same time.”

“That’s why to stop supermarket price gouging, the Greens are calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into making food more affordable, and for the Government to intervene to prevent profiteering off essential food items.”

Feature Image: API

Read the full report here.


Hilary McAllister


PHONE: (03) 5222 1941

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