6470.0 - Information Paper: Introduction of the 16th Series Australian Consumer Price Index, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/09/2011  First Issue
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The purpose of this Information Paper is to describe the changes that will be made to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a result of the introduction of the 16th series. The first CPI publication on the basis of the 16th series will be in respect of the September quarter 2011, which is due to be released on 26 October 2011.

Australia has produced indexes of retail price inflation going back as far as 1901. Prior to the introduction of the CPI in 1960, there were five series of retail price indexes compiled by the (then) Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. Since 1960, when the CPI was first compiled, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has maintained a program of periodic reviews of the CPI to ensure that it continues to remain relevant and accurate. The main objective of these reviews is to update the household expenditure information used to set the item weights in the CPI but they also provide an opportunity to reassess the scope and coverage of the index.

The issues considered in the review of the 16th series CPI were set out in the Information Paper: Issues to be considered during the 16th Series Australian Consumer Price Index Review, Australia, December 2009 (cat. no. 6468.0) released on 15 December 2009. Following the release of the paper, there was extensive public consultation. A CPI Review Advisory Group was established, which represented a broad cross–section of CPI users, to provide advice to the ABS. The outcomes of the 16th series review were released in the Information Paper: Outcome of the 16th Series Australian Consumer Price Index Review, Australia, December 2010 (cat. no. 6469.0).

This information paper provides an overview of the changes to the CPI that will be introduced with the 16th series from the September quarter 2011. It describes the household expenditure data used to calculate the weights in the CPI. The paper also presents the updated weighting patterns, details of the changes to the commodity classification of the index, some background on the major shifts in weights between the 15th and 16th series, and a more detailed explanation regarding the ‘Financial services’ index in the 16th series Consumer Price Index.

A mock–up of the revised format of the September quarter 2011 issue of Consumer Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6401.0) which will be released on 26 October 2011, is reproduced as Appendix 5 (available to download on the ABS website www.abs.gov.au ), to provide users with advance notice of the changes that will be incorporated. Revised formats of the CPI tables including Series IDs are available as data cubes included with the release of this paper on the ABS website www.abs.gov.au.

The ABS will release an updated Guide to the Consumer Price Index: 16th Series (cat. no. 6440.0) in conjunction with the release of the 16th series CPI on 26 October 2011. A detailed description of CPI concepts, the data used in compiling it and the methodology underlying the CPI can be found in Australian Consumer Price Index: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009 (cat. no. 6461.0) which will be updated over the next few months to reflect the changes made during the 16th series review. The updated version is expected to be released on 7 December 2011.

Readers requiring further information should contact:

Consumer Price Index Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics
PO Box 10
Telephone: 02 6252 6654
Fax: 02 6252 7060
Email: prices.statistics@abs.gov.au

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician