The Reserve Bank may have just raised interest rates for the 10th time, but the governor has declined to say whether the hikes have hit his own hip pocket.
Philip Lowe is one of the nation’s highest paid bureaucrats, taking home a package worth $1,076,029 paid for by the taxpayers.
Speaking a day after the board lifted rates to a decade-high 3.6 per cent, Dr Lowe was asked if his own spending habits had changed.
“You acknowledged in your speech the effects of high interest rates are felt unevenly across the community … The question many people are asking though is: What about the top end of town?” a Network Ten reporter asked.
Philip Lowe was asked about his own spending habits on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short
“To illustrate that point, in a cheeky way I suppose, have you personally felt the need to rein in your spending in recent months.”
The million-dollar-a-year man laughed off the question but acknowledged people who were feeling the brunt were those on the lower end of the income scale.
“I’m just one person in 26 million. So, my personal, um, circumstances, aren’t going to affect the aggregate, are they?” Dr Lowe said in response.
“It’s difficult because monetary policy is falling unevenly across the community and the people who have been most affected are people who have borrowed in recent times and having to pay a higher mortgage payment.”
But Dr Lowe warned that things would only be worse if the board hadn’t raised rates so aggressively.
“Just imagine if we had not raised rates. Where do you think the exchange rate would be? You’d have more inflation,” Dr Lowe added.
“The higher interest rates do encourage people to save a bit.
“I know it’s tough.”
Anthony Albanese defended the central bank boss during an interview on radio. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
Dr Lowe has faced an onslaught of personal criticism for saying the cash rate would stay at record lows until 2024.
In recent appearances before two parliamentary committees, the governor repeatedly reminded MPs the aggressive rate hike cycle was a decision for the entire board, not just him.
In an interview on Perth radio, Anthony Albanese defended the “poor” Dr Lowe.
“He and his board, to be fair, I wouldn’t put it all on poor Phil Lowe – ‘it’s not just me, it’s a board,” the Prime Minister said.
“There’s a board and they make decisions, and they do need to control inflation, but it’s an independent decision that they make.
“Interest rates started to increase under the former government before the election, and the RBA said before the election that there would be a range of increases.
“The words that were used yesterday are better than they have been previously.”
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