JOURNALIST: In the OECD, Australia's incomes have grown at the least of any of those countries. It's pretty concerning.
JANE HUME: I don't think you have to go too far to speak to an Australian that doesn't know that their standard of living has gone backwards in the last 12 months. There's a pretty obvious reason for that, inflation is the thief in the night. It erodes your purchasing and it eats away at your savings. It brings down your standard of living and it reduces your quality of life, which is why we are saying that the government's number one, two and three priority right now should be bringing inflation under control. It's driven by aggregate demand. Aggregate demand has two components, private sector demand and public sector demand. Private sector demand is now being dampened by those consecutive interest rate hikes. 12 under this government alone. But public sector demand continues to grow. That's why the government has to take control of its fiscal reins and bring aggregate demand down. Bring its spending urges, those natural urges of the Labor government to spend and spend more under control.
JOURNALIST: They're looking at infrastructure. Is that where they should cut or what aspects of their spending should they cut back?
JANE HUME: I find it very hard to take seriously a government that says it wants to cut infrastructure, but somehow has managed to exclude the Victorian Suburban Rail Loop which, let's face it, it's a $134 billion boondoggle by Dan Andrews. Already Labor have committed $2.2 billion without so much as a business case, without so much as Infrastructure Australia running the rule over it to see whether it's going to add productivity or even improve our lives and our services. Quite frankly, if they're not going to cut the suburban rail if they're not taking cuts infrastructure seriously.
JOURNALIST: And what other areas should they look at taking the cutting back?
JANE HUME: Well, they've already said that they want to cut the NDIS spending from 14% per year to 8% a year and yet, there hasn't provided a single policy that has demonstrated how they're going to do that. That's in the budget. But all it is is a spending cap that's not actually accurate at all. We've said that if the government can find ways to reduce their spending on NDIS to reform the NDIS, so it's sustainable into the future. We will support that, but unfortunately, haven't taken us up on that offer. The same goes for aged care. Again with an aging population, we know that we need to reform aged care, but the only solution that the government seems to come up with is a new tax. If they can find genuine reforms we have said we will come to the table we will support them to do that. But unfortunately, they won't take up that offer.
JOURNALIST: And just finally, Matt Canavan has come out calling for a cut to the fuel excise. Do you think that'll come up in the party room next week? And is that something the Opposition is looking at endorsing?
JANE HUME: Well, you can see where Matt’s going with this. Quite frankly, if a Labor Government is saying it's going to reduce infrastructure spending on roads, well then why on earth would you not compensate with a cut to fuel excise Now personally, I don't think cutting infrastructure on roads is a good idea at all. Roads add to our productivity and reduce our costs overall. If they were serious about cutting infrastructure, the things are those boondoggles like the Suburban Rail Loop, which was all Dan Andrews all the time. And quite frankly, it is just a demonstration that the Labor, that Anthony Albanese is happy to support his mates in their bid to win more Labor seats in Victoria, rather than genuinely seriously tackling the inflation problem.
JOURNALIST: It sounds like you're considering the fuel excise cut is that something we could see Peter Dutton announce next week?
JANE HUME: No, can I tell you that the Coalition cut the fuel excise when inflation was just beginning to take off. That was when it was driven by two things. It was driven by Russia's invasion of the Ukraine and also those hangover supply chain problems from COVID. Now the supply chain problems have largely been alleviated and quite frankly, inflation is no longer caused by Vladimir Putin. Jim Chalmers can't keep pointing to somebody else and saying this is their problem. Inflation comes from Canberra and the only way it's going to come down is if this Labor government takes it seriously and says it's gonna cut its natural urge to keep spending more and more taxpayer dollars on its wishlist projects.