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
March 2022

Key statistics

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.1% this quarter.
  • Over the twelve months to the March 2022 quarter, the CPI rose 5.1%.
  • The most significant price rises were New dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (+5.7%) and Automotive fuel (+11.0%).

Main features

Weighted average of eight capital cities
 Dec Qtr 2021 to Mar Qtr 2022Mar Qtr 2021 to Mar Qtr 2022
% change% change
All groups CPI2.15.1
Food and non-alcoholic beverages2.84.3
Alcohol and tobacco1.11.8
Clothing and footwear-0.6-1.5
Furnishings, household equipment and services1.14.9
Recreation and culture0.63.0
Insurance and financial services0.52.7
CPI analytical series
 All groups CPI, seasonally adjusted2.05.2
 Trimmed mean1.43.7
 Weighted median1.03.2


Underlying inflation highest since 2009

Annual CPI inflation increased to 5.1 per cent in the March quarter, due to higher dwelling construction costs and automotive fuel prices. Trimmed mean annual inflation, which excludes large price rises and falls, increased to 3.7 per cent, the highest since March 2009.

Rising construction costs drove higher prices for new dwellings

New dwelling prices have recorded their largest rise since September 2000, following the introduction of the GST. Price rises were driven by high levels of building construction activity combined with ongoing shortages of materials and labour. Fewer payments of government construction grants compared to the previous quarter also contributed to the rise. These grants have the effect of reducing out of pocket expenses for new dwelling purchases. 

Fuel prices at record level

Automotive fuel prices rose for the seventh consecutive quarter, resulting in the strongest annual rise since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The Automotive fuel series reached a record level in the March quarter due to an oil price shock caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, paired with ongoing easing of COVID-19 restrictions strengthening global demand. The national quarterly average price for unleaded petrol increased to $1.83 per litre in the March quarter. 

Two speed rental market continues across capital cities

Rents in Sydney and Melbourne recorded small rises in the March quarter. Rents across the remaining capital cities continue to record relatively stronger rises, reflecting historically low vacancy rates.

The positive growth in rents for Sydney and Melbourne was mainly driven by rising rents for houses, while other dwellings recorded a relatively smaller rise in Sydney and a small fall in Melbourne. Rental conditions for other dwellings remained subdued in Melbourne reflecting higher vacancy rates. Rents for both houses and other dwellings increased at a similar rate in the remaining capital cities.

Gap between discretionary and non-discretionary inflation continued to grow

Non-discretionary annual inflation was 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 which have all experienced price rises through the year.

In the quarter Non-discretionary inflation grew by 3 per cent. This was driven by Housing, Automotive fuel and Food.

Vouchers for meals out and takeaway softened food price rises

The food group includes both grocery food products and meals out and takeaway foods. Grocery food products (+4.0%) were the main contributor to the food group in the March quarter. This movement was softened by meals out and takeaway foods (+0.7%), which saw price rises partially offset by voucher schemes reducing out of pocket costs for consumers in some cities.

Price growth recorded across all grocery products

Price rises were seen across all food and non-food grocery products in the March quarter, reflecting a range of price pressures including transport costs, supply chain disruptions and increased input costs. 

Main contributors to change

CPI groups


Food and non-alcoholic beverages group (+2.8%)

Alcohol and tobacco group (+1.1%)

Clothing and footwear group (-0.6%)

Housing group (+2.7%)

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

Health group (+2.3%)

Transport group (+4.2%)

Communication group (+0.3%)

Recreation and culture group (+0.6%)

Education group (+4.5%)

Insurance and financial services group (+0.5%)

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
 Mar Qtr 2022Dec Qtr 2021 to Mar Qtr 2022Mar Qtr 2021 to Mar Qtr 2022
Weighted average of eight capital cities123.92.15.1

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

In all capital cities:

  • New dwelling purchase by owner occupiers (+5.7%) rose. Continuing strong demand for housing construction enabled builders to pass through increases in costs for both materials and labour driven by ongoing supply constraints. The largest rise was recorded in Perth (+15.8%), followed by Brisbane (+6.0%) and Melbourne (+4.7%).

  • Automotive fuel (+11.0%) rose due to a global oil price shock following the Russian invasion of Ukraine combined with easing COVID restrictions globally. The largest rise was recorded in Adelaide (+12.6%), followed by Darwin (+12.0%) and Brisbane (+11.9%).

  • Tertiary education (+6.3%) rose due to the continued introduction of the new band and fee schedule with more students on the higher fee structure this year. The largest price rises were recorded in Hobart (+7.4%), Brisbane (+7.2%) and Canberra (+7.2%).

Capital city highlights:

At the All groups level, the CPI rose in all eight capital cities, ranging from 1.7% in Sydney to 3.3% in Perth.


Sydney (+1.7%)

Melbourne (+2.3%)

Brisbane (+2.2%)

Adelaide (+1.9%)

Perth (+3.3%)

Hobart (+2.0%)

Darwin (+2.1%)

Canberra (+2.2%)

Quarterly percentage change by capital city
GroupSydneyMelbourneBrisbaneAdelaidePerthHobartDarwinCanberraWeighted average of eight capital cities
All groups1.
Food & non-alcoholic beverages2.
Alcohol & tobacco1.
Clothing & footwear-0.1-0.5-1.8-0.7-1.1-0.7-1.1-0.5-0.6
Furnishings, household equipment and services0.
Recreation & culture-0.11.6-
Insurance & financial services0.60.70.5-

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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