Australia markets close in 5 hours 7 minutes

    +31.60 (+0.40%)
  • ASX 200

    +31.70 (+0.41%)

    +0.0006 (+0.09%)
  • OIL

    +0.10 (+0.12%)
  • GOLD

    -7.20 (-0.31%)
  • Bitcoin AUD

    -516.19 (-0.50%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +20.94 (+1.48%)

    +0.0005 (+0.09%)

    -0.0004 (-0.04%)
  • NZX 50

    +44.80 (+0.38%)

    +260.59 (+1.51%)
  • FTSE

    +20.94 (+0.26%)
  • Dow Jones

    +263.71 (+0.69%)
  • DAX

    +276.85 (+1.55%)
  • Hang Seng

    +317.24 (+1.92%)
  • NIKKEI 225

    +681.69 (+1.82%)

Albo drops major cost of living relief hint

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will address the Council of Small Business of Australia’s national summit on Thursday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Anthony Albanese has given his strongest suggestion yet that an energy bill lifeline could be extended to Australian families and small businesses in the May budget.

At a speech to the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA)’s national summit on Thursday, he said helping families and small businesses would again be “front and centre in our thinking” as Labor puts together the May budget.

He said the energy bill relief package in last year’s budget, in conjunction with states and territories, had delivered up to $650 in savings for about one million small businesses and five million families, and recognised the struggle was continuing.


Ahead of his speech, Mr Albanese said moderating inflation rates and wage growth showed “positive signs” that the nation’s economy was on the up but wouldn’t confirm what exact cost-of-living measures people should expect.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed the COSBOA national summit on Thursday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Appleyard

“We’re looking at what we can do to provide further cost of living relief without putting pressure on inflation,” he told ABC.

“We’re examining what we can do in the context of the budget, making sure as well that we do put that downward pressure on inflation.

“We understand that some people are doing it tough, and that we need to … look at ways in which we can provide support for people.

“Our cost of living relief priorities included our energy price relief plan last year, and that did have a positive impact.

“We want to provide support for individuals, but also particularly for small businesses.”

Health Minister Mark Butler had earlier said cost of living was “at the centre of our plan”, namely the changes to stage three tax cuts.

“The Treasurer, the Prime Minister have also said that small businesses, but also obviously Australian households and their struggle with the global cost of living crisis, is front and centre as we’re preparing the Budget to be delivered in May,” he said.

During his speech, Mr Albanese focused on the need to bolster the solar power industry, heralding small businesses as having “consistently led the nation” in embracing solar power to “take control of their bills”.

“Solar power is a smart investment that delivers an important return to businesses on tight margins,” Mr Albanese said.

He said the budget’s centrepiece will be around made for Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Appleyard

His speech follows last week’s $1bn announcement of a new program to build more solar panels in Australia for Australia, when he spruiked a “future made in Australia” as the centrepiece of the May budget.

He doubled down on Thursday on his pitch to increase Australia’s manufacturing capabilities.

“Our government – like you – is focused on what works and focused on what will make a difference here and now, as well as deliver for the long term,” he said.

He used the speech to talk of the need for Australia to show “dynamism and drive” in order to compete and succeed in a challenging global environment.

“And every advanced economy is grappling with the challenges of global inflation, the long tail of the pandemic, the uncertainty of conflict and the transformative impact of new technologies,” he said.

“We … need to show the courage and ambition you demonstrate every day.

“The courage to invest in new ideas and new industries, the ambition for our people and our products to win in the world. This what I mean when I talk about a future made in Australia.”

His speech comes a day after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton addressed the summit, promising small businesses would benefit from cheaper energy prices, simplified labour laws, a noninterventionist government and a kibosh on regulatory hurdles should the Coalition come to power at the next federal election.

“The Coalition understands the critical role that small businesses will play in helping to lift productivity and living standards in the decades ahead,” he said on Wednesday.