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Coles cheese photo exposes major Australian crisis

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A single pack of cheese has summed up just how severely Australia’s cost of living crisis has worsened in recent months.

The 36 pack of Cheer “light n tasty” cheese was spotted recently in a Coles fridge for a price 60 per cent higher than it was last year.

The 750g family pack was $17.55 – equal to $23.40 a kilo. Last year it was $11.

At Woolworths it’s slightly cheaper for $14, or $18.67 a kilo. The online price for the Coles pack has since been reduced to $14.

The prices come as a morbid reminder of just how grim the cost of living crisis has become for Australians in the lead-up to the festive period.

The photo, shared to Instagram by former Seven News presenter Jacqui Felgate, prompted a huge response from unsurprised members of the public.

“Our grocery bill has gone up by at least 30% in 2 years. That’s not fancy things either. It’s tiring having to re-budget constantly,” one response read.

“And this is why no one can afford life anymore, interest rate rises, groceries are a joke, it’s stuffed,” another said.

Others pointed out the whole dairy industry had been hit hard but price rises, which had driven up costs across most brands.

“I went shopping today and couldn’t believe the price of Kraft Singles,” one wrote.

“Yep, it’s crazy. I’ll stay away from cheese for a while I think,” someone else said.

It has been broadly predicted that Australia has yet to see the worst of the economic downturn, largely attributed to major labour shortages.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe recently highlighted the impact of recent world affairs on historically high levels of inflation, with Australians facing a rise of 8 per cent in the consumer price index by the end of the year.

“The very recent past has served as a powerful reminder of just how influential the supply side can be, with Covid disruptions and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine contributing to the highest inflation in decades,” he said.

Rate hikes to be ‘more aggressive’

Senior economists have predicted that the RBA will lift the cash rate by at least another 25 basis points by the end of the year, with Westpac predicting that the rate could peak at 3.85 per cent next year.

Dr Lowe indicated rate hikes could become more aggressive in response to ever-rising inflation.

“If we need to step up to larger increases again to secure a return of inflation to target, we will do that,” he said.

Just how aggressive the hikes will be will rely on how the Australian economy unfolds over the next few months.

Research commissioned by finance app Revolut found 92 per cent of the Australians it surveyed (10,000 over the age of 18) were concerned about their finances amid the rising cost of living, while more than one-third said they felt uncomfortable asking for a pay rise.

Revolut Australia chief executive Matt Baxby said Australians’ concerns about finances was reflected in the increase in people who were downloading the company’s app to help cut costs.

He said the app in Australia, which offers budget trackers, ‘saving vaults’ and features to split bills, has seen a 65 per cent increase in downloads year-on-year.

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