Five months into the new Labor Government’s first Parliamentary term, and following the delivery of its first Federal Budget, cost of living has strengthened as the most top of mind concern for Australians.

When asked to name up to three issues that personally interest or concern them the most, that the Australian Government should focus on, 44% of Australians describe issues related to cost of living – up from 38% in August and four times as many as last November (11%).

When then asked to select the five most important issues that the Australian Government should focus on, from a list of 22, cost of living continues to dominate as Australians’ top prompted priority, at around two thirds of adults (76%), followed by hospitals, healthcare and ageing (57%).

This compares with last November when just short of six in ten Australians were concerned about each of these issues (59% for living costs and 58% for health and ageing).

Concern for health and ageing has remained relatively stable over the past year, while cost of living concerns have risen 17 points.

Around four in ten adults remain concerned about the economy and finances (43%), amid talk of a looming global recession – and about housing and interest rates (41%), now 11 points higher than last November, following several consecutive rate increases over 2022. Concern about energy has continued to increase sharply – now 39%, almost twice that recorded in March (20%).

Australians’ optimism about their personal situation is being tested amid the heightening cost of living crisis.

Following the recent Budget’s sobering account of the national finances, public confidence has fallen sharply in relation to personal circumstances, after a year of relative stability. Since August, fewer Australians believe they are heading in the right direction (33%, down from 39%) and more feel they are heading in the wrong direction (21%, up from 17%).

Following several months of consecutive interest rate rises, predictions of substantial increases to energy costs next year, and little cost of living relief delivered in its recent Budget, the Federal Government’s poorest performing areas overall remain cost of living (index of 32), housing and interest rates (index of 36), and energy (index of 38).

True Issues is a research tool to assist Australian businesses to understand where their issues truly sit within the contemporary issues landscape. This poll was conducted as an online survey between 28 – 31 October among a representative national sample of 1,000 Australians aged 18+ years. This is an excerpt from our latest True Issues report, to read the full report, click the link below.

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