OLIVER PETERSON: The shadow finance minister is Senator Jane Hume who has called through this afternoon. What do you make of the budget?
JANE HUME: Good afternoon Ollie. Well, to tell you the truth, we're very disappointed. This budget was always going to be a test for Labor to see if they'd put the issues of everyday Australians ahead of their own and they've failed on every count. They failed to consolidate and build on the improved conditions that were left to them by the Coalition. In fact over the medium term, gross debt and net debt are only getting worse. They've failed to deliver a single cost of living measure to Australians that are doing it tough right now. Nothing kicks in for two years and energy and interest rates alone will see an average family around $2,000 worse off by Christmas this year. They failed to contain inflation. Under Labor, inflation will be higher for longer. They've failed in their own benchmark of quality spending. Productivity is down under Labor and they've not only broken their election commitment to lower energy prices by $275, but energy prices are now going up by 50% over the next two years and 30% this year. So I think you have to look past the speech which was full of, you know, rainbows and sunshine. This is actually a miserable budget. Real wages, growth and employment are all down, spending is up, and tax receipts are up. That's bracket creep at work, mind you. In the medium term, debt and deficit and energy prices are skyrocketing. Inflation forecast over 7%. This is a real concern for ordinary Australian families.
OLIVER PETERSON: Do you think as well that Jim Chalmers has given himself that wriggle room to abandon the stage three income tax cuts?
JANE HUME: Oh, undoubtedly he's done that. Spending has been pushed out for another two years just when those tax cuts are due to kick in. But quite frankly, when Australians are doing it tough, that's the worst time to be increasing their taxes. We want to make sure that those taxes are in there to improve economic growth, encourage aspiration, to reward those that work hard and taking them away would be a real breach of trust.
OLIVER PETERSON: Well, Senator, every day for the last week, we've been setting a record diesel fuel price. As you say, there's nothing in this budget at the moment for people to manage their household weekly budgets.
JANE HUME: No, that's exactly right. In fact, when they feel that price, that electricity price go up, their gas prices go up even by the end of the year, I think Australians are going to be doing it really tough, particularly those that have their own mortgages but are yet to see those high-interest rates really kick into their repayments. It's going to be a pretty grim Christmas for a lot of Australians this year and Labor really isn't helping.
OLIVER PETERSON: We hope it does get better. That is Senator Jane Hume the Shadow Finance Minister, joining us on Perth Live this afternoon.