Then-shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 11 May 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Australia allocates some $10 billion for rising cost of living

Sydney, Australia, May 8 (EFE).- Australia announced Monday that it will allocate AU$14.6 billion (almost $10 billion) over four years to tackle inflation and high cost of living.

People walk around the Central Business District (CBD) in Sydney, Australia, 11 May 2020. EFE-EPA FILE/DEAN LEWINS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Cheaper medicines, energy relief and energy efficiency investments are some of the measures of the budget that the government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will announce Tuesday night, seeking to mitigate the impacts of high inflation (7 percent), according to a Treasury statement.

Then-opposition leader Anthony Albanese and then-shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 12 May 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Current inflation is far off the target range of 2-3 percent set by the Reserve Bank, which has raised interest rates 11 times since last May, from 0.1 percent, a record low, to 3.85 percent, putting more stress on the pockets of Australians.

“People are under the pump. We’ve carefully calibrated and designed this budget so that it takes pressure off the cost-of-living rather than add to it,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said in the statement, adding that the budget will help “the vulnerable with cost-of-living pressures” with an “eye on the future, and responsible economic management.”

The package will include aid so that some 5 million homes and 1 million small businesses can meet energy bills, which according to official estimates last October will rise by 56 percent until the first quarter of 2024.

Monday’s announcement adds to the AU$11.3 billion that Canberra has allocated to raise the salaries of workers in nursing homes by 15 percent, among other measures. EFE