Cost of living pressures the leading concern for Australian voters

The cost of living, healthcare, and housing affordability are top of mind for Australians on the back of a Labor victory, according to new research.

A new survey from Finder shows that 71 per cent of Australians are most concerned about the rising cost of living as inflation continues to rise, followed by healthcare at 43 per cent, and housing affordability at 41 per cent.

Senior editor of money at Finder, Sarah Megginson said financial wellbeing was top of mind for many Aussie households.

“Aussie households are worried about their finances – they need a reprieve,” Ms Megginson said.

“Whether it’s struggling to pay rent or mortgages, the cost of goods and services going up, or trying to get into the housing market, there’s no doubt Australians are doing it tough right now and these issues were a deciding factor in their vote.

“The rental market is cut-throat, the price of everyday staples are continuing to rise, and this is putting a lot of pressure on Aussies finances.

“These issues are ‘make or break’ for some.”

The national survey of 1002 respondents revealed 24 per cent of Australians admit aged care is an important topic for the government to tackle during this new term, while 20 per cent are concerned about employment.

Older Australians are most worried about the cost of living (69 per cent), healthcare (56 per cent), and aged care (54 per cent), while younger people are also concerned about cost of living pressures (67 per cent) and housing costs (54 per cent).

The data also showed 13 per cent want to see more social support, 11 per cent feel strongly about education, 10 per cent are passionate about support for small businesses, with 4 per cent thinking there needs to be more regional development.

Ms Megginson said there are ways to make your money work harder for you as inflation continues to rise.

“If your income stays the same as what it was last year, your buying power has gone down and you’ve effectively had a 5.1 per cent pay cut,” ​​Ms Megginson said.

“This is because, as the cost of living increases, your money will buy less than what it did last year.

“If you’re struggling to save money, shopping around for better deals on some of your regular expenses is a good place to start.

“Some savvy swaps – like switching your energy provider or refinancing your home loan – could save you thousands of dollars a year.

“It’s critical to know what’s going in and out of your account, so you can budget accordingly.

What does this mean for your wallet?

During the election campaign, Labor put forward a number of policy proposals aimed at helping reduce cost of living pressures.

Childcare costs could get cheaper
Labor has pledged to increase the maximum childcare subsidy rate for a family’s first child and extend subsidies for out of school hours care.

More affordable medicine, especially for seniors
Labor has plans to lower the costs of medication by reducing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment meaning you won’t have to pay more than $30 per script, down from $42.50, while more seniors will be able to get a Seniors Health Care Card.

Help to buy a house
Under Labor’s Help to Buy scheme, 10,000 buyers a year will be able to purchase properties with deposits as low as 2 per cent. The government will then contribute some of the purchase price, up to 40 per cent for a new home and 30 per cent for an established home.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.