Shadow treasurer admits wage growth is ‘test’ for Labor if they win election

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers insisted today that labor policies will help ease cost-of-living pressures, but says the test will be whether he can fight falling wages.

Nine Network political editor Chris Uhlmann questioned Chalmers about labor policies to ease rising prices ahead of the party’s campaign launch today.

He was asked whether wages under a Labor government could keep up with inflation – currently at 5.1 percent.

Jim Chalmers and Richard Marles Address the Media
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers insisted the Labor Party could face rising cost-of-living pressures. (SMH/Alex Ellinghausen)

“We are promising that wages will grow faster in the Labor Party because we have a plan to get real wages back up. They would like to.”

Uhlmann told Chalmers that if wages hadn’t grown faster than inflation after “three years of Labor rule, it would have been a failure.

“The test is whether we can make a real difference in wage growth, we have a plan to do it, the government has washed its hands of the cost of living,” Chalmers said.

He also said the Labor Party’s plan to make housing more affordable by the government by taking a large stake in private homes would help people move up the property ladder.

“It brings together the best ideas from states and the world to make it easier for people to access the housing market. That’s because deposits will be lower. Mortgages will be lower and repayments will be lower.”

Chalmers admitted that the plan would only help about 350,000 people hoping to buy a home, but it would be a “good start” to resolving the crisis.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the Labor Party would not change the negative gear rules if it won the job. (AAP)

“We have to be responsible. We will inherit nearly $1 trillion in debt with nothing to show us that. So we have to make a significant difference.”

But Chalmers said a Labor government would not make changes to negative property leverage – where the cost of owning a rental property exceeds the income generated each year, creating a taxable loss.

“We’ve made it very clear that we’re not going down that road. We’ve found a better way to deal with some of these problems,” he said.

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