Higher tobacco taxes and the reintroduction of childcare fees saw consumer prices rise by 0.9 per cent in the December quarter.
Tobacco prices jumped 10.9 per cent and childcare prices 37.7 per cent after the federal government ended its free childcare policy and increased the tobacco excise tax.
Domestic travellers were also stung by a 6.3 per cent rise in holiday travel prices as state and territory borders briefly reopened, while consumers copped a 2.5 per cent increase in medical and hospital services, after private health insurers hiked premiums on October 1.
ABS head of prices statistics Michelle Marquardt said HomeBuilder partially offset hikes in new property prices, which have surged on the back of government incentives and record-low interest rates and pushed home lending to new record highs.
“The December quarter rise of 0.7 per cent in the purchase price of new dwellings would have been higher, but was partially offset by the Federal government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, and similar $20,000 grants by the Western Australian (WA) and Tasmanian state governments,” she said in a statement.
The most significant price fall was in electricity (down 7.5 per cent for the quarter), after the Western Australian government gave households a one-off $600 credit.
HERE’S WHAT COSTS MORE
The pandemic made some things a lot dearer. This is what you should be avoiding if you can.
Can I just say to the cigarette smokers of Australia, you’re experiencing more inflation than anyone else. The price of cigarettes goes up 10 to 20 per cent every year, and it’s mostly tax. You’re really taking the hit for the team there.
For the rest of us, the surprise price rise is cleaning products. We all went hygiene-crazy when COVID came along and that hasn’t gone back to normal. It’s been a big year for Spray ‘n’ Wipe.
Also, notice that appliances have gone up. We’re spending much more time at home and everyone is deciding it is time for a new fridge or a dishwasher. But if you get on that train now you’ll be spending 10 per cent more than you would have a year ago.