Consumer Price Index, Australia

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures household inflation and includes statistics about price change for categories of household expenditure

Reference period
December 2021

Key statistics

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.3% this quarter.
  • Over the twelve months to the December 2021 quarter, the CPI rose 3.5%.
  • The most significant price rises were for New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+4.2%) and Automotive fuel (+6.6%).

What's new this quarter

Main features

Weighted average of eight capital cities
 Sep Qtr 2021 to Dec Qtr 2021Dec Qtr 2020 to Dec Qtr 2021
% change% change
All groups CPI1.33.5
Food and non-alcoholic beverages0.71.9
Alcohol and tobacco0.91.1
Clothing and footwear2.6-0.3
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.13.6
Recreation and culture1.52.1
Insurance and financial services1.22.2
CPI analytical series
 All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted1.33.7
 Trimmed mean1.02.6
 Weighted median0.92.7


Underlying inflation highest since 2014

Annual CPI inflation increased to 3.5 per cent in the December quarter, due to higher dwelling construction costs and automotive fuel prices. Trimmed mean annual inflation, which excludes large price rises and falls, increased to 2.6 per cent, the highest since June 2014.


Rising construction costs drive higher prices for new dwellings

High levels of building construction activity combined with shortages of materials and labour have contributed to two consecutive quarters of the largest rise in new dwelling prices since September 2000, following the introduction of the GST. Fewer payments of Government construction grants compared to the previous quarter also contributed to the rise this quarter. These grants have the effect of reducing out of pocket expenses for new dwellings being purchased.

Petrol prices at record level

Automotive fuel prices rose for the sixth consecutive quarter, resulting in the strongest annual rise since 1990. The Automotive fuel series reached a record level in the December quarter due to higher global oil prices amid economic recovery and lower global supply. The national quarterly average price for unleaded petrol increased to $1.64 per litre in the December quarter. This release includes an update to the article on the history of 'Automotive fuel in the CPI'.


Price rises for goods outstrips services

Price rises in automotive fuel and new dwelling purchases were the main contributors to Goods inflation in 2021. Prices also increased across a broad range of other goods with strong demand and supply disruptions leading to price rises for goods such as furniture and motor vehicles.

Two speed rental market continues across capital cities

Rents for Sydney and Melbourne fell again in the December quarter. This is the fourth consecutive quarterly fall for Sydney, and the third consecutive quarterly fall for Melbourne. Rents across the other capital cities continue to rise, reflecting low vacancy rates in those cities.


Rental prices for houses in Sydney and Melbourne have recovered more quickly than for other dwellings since the onset of COVID-19. Rental conditions for other dwellings remain subdued in Sydney and Melbourne. For the remaining capital cities, rents for houses and other dwellings have increased at a similar rate.


Non-discretionary inflation more than double Discretionary inflation

Non-discretionary annual inflation is higher than the CPI and more than twice the rate of Discretionary inflation. Non-discretionary inflation includes goods and services that households are less likely to reduce their consumption of, such as food, automotive fuel, housing and health costs.


Main contributors to change

CPI groups


Food and non-alcoholic beverages group (+0.7%)

Alcohol and tobacco group (+0.9%)

Clothing and footwear group (+2.6%)

Housing group (+1.8%)

Furnishings, household equipment and services group (+1.1%)

Health group (-0.3%)

Transport group (+2.8%)

Communication group (+0.1%)

Recreation and culture group (+1.5%)

Education group (+0.1%)

Insurance and financial services group (+1.2%)

International trade exposure - tradable and non-tradables

Underlying inflation series

Seasonally adjusted analytical series

Capital cities comparison

All groups CPI

All groups CPI, All groups index numbers and percentage changes
 Index number(a)Percentage change
 Dec Qtr 2021Sep Qtr 2021 to Dec Qtr 2021Dec Qtr 2020 to Dec Qtr 2021
Weighted average of eight capital cities121.31.33.5

a. Index reference period: 2011-12 = 100.0.

In all capital cities:

  • New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+4.2%) rose in all capital cities. Continuing strong demand for housing construction enabled builders to pass through increases in costs for both materials and labour. Ongoing supply constraints for materials and labour in some cities also contributed to rising prices. The largest price rise was recorded in Hobart (+8.5%), followed by Adelaide (+6.8%) and Brisbane (+6.4%). 

  • Automotive fuel increased (+6.6%) with strong rises seen across all capital cities during the quarter. Prices rose due to increased global demand for oil as a result of eased COVID-19 restrictions. The largest price rise was recorded in Hobart (+12.4%), followed by Darwin (+9.9%) and Perth (+9.4%).

  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (+4.8%) rose as border closures eased during the quarter, leading to increased demand for domestic airfares and accommodation. The largest price rises were recorded in Sydney (+7.8%), Perth (+5.3%) and Melbourne (+4.1%).

Capital city highlights:

At the All groups level, the CPI rose in all eight capital cities, ranging from 0.8% in Darwin to 2.2% in Hobart.


Sydney (+1.2%)

Melbourne (+1.1%)

Brisbane (+1.6%)

Adelaide (+1.5%)

Perth (+1.4%)

Hobart (+2.2%)

Darwin (+0.8%)

Canberra (+1.0%)

Quarterly percentage change by capital city
GroupSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
All groups1.
Food & non-alcoholic beverages0.
Alcohol & tobacco1.
Clothing & footwear2.
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.
Recreation & culture2.
Insurance & financial services0.

Selected tables - capital cities

All groups CPI, index numbers(a)

All groups CPI, percentage changes

Longer term series: all groups CPI, weighted average of eight capital cities, index numbers

Data downloads

Time Series Spreadsheets

Data files

Article archive

Using price indexes

Price indexes in contracts

Price indexes published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provide summary measures of the movements in various categories of prices over time. They are published primarily for use in Government economic analysis. Price indexes are also often used in contracts by businesses and government to adjust payments and/or charges to take account of changes in categories of prices (Indexation Clauses).

Use of Price Indexes in Contracts that sets out a range of issues that should be taken into account by parties considering including an Indexation Clause in a contract using an ABS published price index.

Frequently asked questions

The Frequently Asked Questions page that has answers to a number of common questions to do with price indexes and the Consumer Price Index, in particular.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6401.0.

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