CONCERN about the impact of the rapid rise in the cost of living has been expressed by the members of the Magra branch of the Country Women’s Association. State Opposition Leader and Member for Lyons Rebecca White visited the group recently to hear the local concerns and share them with the media.
“There’s no doubt the cost of living is increasing and there are many across our community who are struggling to make ends meet,” Ms White said after speaking with the CWA members. “There are pensioners in our community, like here at the Magra CWA, who are wondering how they’re going to keep affording to pay for their fuel, their power, their groceries and everything else when they’re on fixed incomes,” Ms White said.
“This is one of the reasons why we’ve been calling on the government to cap power prices at 2.5%, power prices are going up at 12%,” she said. “We generate so much power here in Tasmania, there should be benefits for Tasmanians. We should be able to keep prices low so Tasmanians can keep turning the lights on [and] cooking their meals without worrying about how they’re going to afford to do that.”
Magra CWA branch president Margaret Martin said the recent increase in power prices would hit hard when the quarterly bills came out. “I’ve got pay-as-you-go and I’ve noticed that it has gone up nearly a dollar a day,” Ms Martin said. “That’s going to come as a shock to a lot of people, not only people on fixed incomes but people with children,” she said.
Ms Martin said the price of petrol was also making people reconsider their need to travel. “You look at the petrol price and think, do I really need to go to Glenorchy today? Do I need to go out of New Norfolk or can it wait? A lot of us don’t have doctors in the Derwent Valley so we have to travel. We’ve got one lady who has to take her husband into Hobart once a week, and that’s all costing.”
Ms Martin said the Magra CWA was able to cover its own costs as well as offer some support to the community.
“We help people in the community when we are aware of them,” she said. We gave some money to the Salvation Army because they run a barbecue three days a week for the homeless. “There’s a lot of homeless people in New Norfolk, a lot more than you would think there would be.”
Ms White said the State Government should listen to the community and hear how hard it is for people to make ends meet. “We are already hearing stories of people choosing between heating and eating. This is unconscionable in a state like ours where we generate enough energy for every single person to have cheap power bills,” she said.
“Labor will continue to stand up for households and we have started a petition to take to the Parliament to cap power prices. You can sign the petition at taslabor.com/stop-the-power-bill-shock/, or visit your local Tasmanian Labor MP at their electorate office.”
Picture: State Opposition Leader Rebecca White MHA talking with members of the Magra CWA.