On 6 March 2023, I gave a speech about how the cost of living crisis is being driven by corporate profits.
The cost-of-living and inflation crisis is being driven by corporate profiteering and price gouging. This has been confirmed by a recent Australia Institute report, which has found that corporations in Australia increased prices by $160 billion above the cost of wages, taxes and other inputs. Without those excess profits, inflation would have actually been within or near the Reserve Bank's targets. In other words, the higher prices you're paying on grocery bills, fuel, energy and even your mortgage are going almost entirely into the coffers of multinational corporations.
Recent profit announcements from some of Australia's biggest corporations are stark. With food prices up over 11 per cent since 2020, Coles and Woolworths recorded a combined $1.5 billion profit, up 17 and 14 per cent respectively. After a record set of consecutive interest rate increases, mortgages are up over $1,000 extra a month for the average mortgage. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank just recorded a $5.5 billion profit, up nine per cent. With household gas costs going through the roof, Santos and Woodside both announced a tripling of their profits. It's an absolute disgrace.
There is a solution to this, though, and the first of it is that the government should finally come to the table and agree to freeze rent increases, use the existing powers they have to stop interest rate increases and instead introduce a superprofits tax on multinational corporations, scrap the stage 3 tax cuts and raise that $600 billion that we know could provide real cost-of-living relief to Australians.