Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have confirmed food prices will rise as a result of the Victorian flooding crisis, with a bumper harvest feared to have been wiped out in recent days.
The Prime Minister, who has been touring flood affected regions over the weekend, told ABC Melbourne on Monday “there will be higher prices” as a result of the floods.
“Tragically there had been such a good harvest anticipated,” Mr Albanese, who is travelling to the NSW town of Forbes, said.
“There’s no doubt this will have an inflationary impact,” Mr Albanese said, adding it would also have budgetary consequences.
Mr Albanese said he flew over the Victorian town of Rochester on Sunday with Premier Daniel Andrews, which he said was still “substantially underwater.”
He said there were 100 Australian Defence Force personnel on the ground in flood-affected areas, who were assisting with sandbagging, evacuation and clean-up efforts.
Mr Albanese’s comments came as Treasurer Jim Chalmers told the media in Canberra on Monday Australians needed to “brace themselves” for cost of living consequences.
The Treasurer said “some of the best growing and producing area in the country” had been “seriously impacted.”
Mr Chalmers said the flooding was “likely to push up cost of living” at a time when Australians were “already under the pump.”
Also speaking on ABC radio on Monday was Victorian Farmers Federation President Emma Germano, who confirmed on ABC Melbourne that this year’s crop was looking “like a bumper harvest.”
“A lot of seedlings have been lost and that will have,” Ms Germano said, adding that the loss would result in supply chain pressures over the coming months, notably in terms of barley and canola.
But she said if there was good drainage, “some of the crops will be salvaged.”
A challenge would be getting heavy machinery on the grounds when it was a “soggy mess,” Ms Germano said.