1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Mar 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/04/2007   
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Inflation eased in Perth over the last two quarters, with growth in Perth's consumer price index (CPI) falling to 0.4% in the December quarter 2006, down from 1.8% and 1.1% in the two preceding periods respectively. Nationally, prices fell by 0.1% during the December quarter, the first fall since the March quarter 1999 (down 0.1%). The most significant falls nationally were automotive fuel (down 12.4%), fruit (down 5.2%), pharmaceuticals (down 5.0%) and audio, visual and computing equipment (down 2.7%).

The higher CPI growth in Perth was mainly driven by higher than average prices in recreation (up 2.8%) and housing (up 0.7%). Within recreation, domestic holiday travel and accommodation rose by 9.3% and overseas holiday travel and accommodation was up 5.0%, the result of seasonal increases in accommodation tariffs and airfares. Housing costs also continued to fuel inflation in Perth, with the price of purchasing a house rising by 0.8% during the quarter. Closely related to housing, the price of furniture and furnishings rose by 2.7%.

Similar to the price falls nationally, Perth's CPI inflation was curtailed by falling prices for automotive fuel (down 11.4%), pharmaceuticals (down 3.5%), audio, visual and computing equipment (down 3.2%), toiletries and personal care products (down 2.9%) and fruit (down 1.9%).

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (ALL GROUPS), Change from same quarter previous year
Graph: Consumer Price Index (all groups), change from same quarter previous year

Through the year to December quarter 2006, Perth's CPI rose by 4.4% compared to the national rise of 3.3%. All capital cities recorded price increases during the year, ranging from 2.5% in Hobart to 5.0% in Darwin. The higher result for Darwin was largely due to a 9.5% rise in housing (nearly triple the national average of 3.2%), while Perth also recorded a significant rise in housing of 7.7%. Despite prices continuing to rise across the nation, the rate of growth has eased markedly from 3.9% in the September quarter 2006 to 3.3% in the current period. This slowing of inflation follows a tightening bias by the Reserve Bank of Australia, with increases of official interest rates by 25 basis points in May (5.75%), August (6.00%) and November (6.25%) 2006.


Wages grew by 1.1% in Western Australia in the December quarter 2006, according to the wage price index of total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses. Over the year, Western Australia's wages rose by 4.6% through the year to December quarter 2006, higher than the rise of 4.3% through the year to September 2006. Nationally, the wage price index grew by 4.0% through the year to December quarter 2006.

WAGE PRICE INDEX, Change from same quarter previous year
Graph: Wage Price Index, change from same quarter previous year

Western Australian industries recording large increases in wages through the year to December 2006 included mining (up 7.0%), property and business services (up 6.0%) and construction (up 5.5%), while professionals (up 5.6%) and managers and administrators (up 5.3%) showed significant increases from an occupation perspective.