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More cost-of-living pain as inflation hits 7.3%

Australian people shopping at Coles for groceries. Australian money notes.
Inflation hits 7.3 per cent, bringing more cost-of-living pain. (Source: AAP/Getty)

Inflation surged 7.3 per cent over the past 12 months, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 1.8 per cent in the September quarter and 7.3 per cent annually for the year to September.

The areas driving the increase this quarter were new dwellings (up 3.7 per cent), gas (up 10.9 per cent) and furniture (up 6.6 per cent), the ABS said.

The rising cost of new dwellings was attributed to labour shortages in the housing-construction industry, leading to rises in labour costs. Material shortages also added further pressures.

Gas prices also skyrocketed, as higher wholesale prices were passed on to consumers. Electricity rose 3.2 per cent this quarter, but state and territory rebates helped to ease the pain.

“Excluding the effect of these schemes, electricity would have risen 15.6 per cent in the quarter," program manager of prices at the ABS Michelle Marquardt said.

Food prices also continued to rise (3.2 per cent), driven by eating out and takeaway costs rising - due to higher ingredient, wage and transportation costs.

Fruit and vegetable costs surged 6.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The price of goods skyrocketed 9.6 per cent, the biggest increase since 1983.

Cost-of-living relief promised

Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced a five-point plan to tackle the rising cost of living in last night’s Federal Budget.

It includes cheaper child care, an expansion of the paid parental leave scheme, cheaper medicines, more affordable housing and getting wages moving again.

The Treasury is expecting inflation to peak at 7.75 per cent later this year, before easing to 3.5 per cent through 2023/24 and returning to the Reserve Bank’s target range in 2024/25.

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