Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Inflation tips past 6% as pensions stagnate

New inflation figures show consumer prices continue to rise faster than wages, with the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) hitting 6.1% – the highest level since GST was introduced more than 20 years ago. 

CPI also rose 1.8% in the June 2022 quarter, dropping from a 2.1% rise in the previous quarter. 

Consumer and advocacy group, National Seniors Australia responded to today’s news with concern, noting that the new inflation figures have already outstripped the last increase to the pension of $20.10 per fortnight back in March. 

National Seniors Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke says pensioners will have to wait months for any respite. 

“The next increase [to the pension] is not until September and by then inflation will have leapt ahead of the pension and they will be left even further behind,” Mr Henschke said. 

“It’s like the hare and the tortoise, no sooner do we try to get ahead of the cost of living and anyincrease has already been gobbled up by soaring inflation. 

“Clearly adjusting the pension twice a year [and not quarterly] when we have runaway inflation is not fair.” 

Mr Henschke also said the ‘Let Pensioners Work’ campaign should be adopted by the government at this time of high cost of living and record job vacancies. 

“Our research shows that almost 20% of pensioners say they would consider a return to work and their prime reason is because they need the money,” Mr Henschke said. 

“If pensioners could work without losing so much of their pension and just pay income tax like everyone else it would be a win for them and a win for the economy.” 

Head of Prices Statistics at the ABS, Michelle Marquardt said the biggest contributors to the rise in annual inflation were new dwellings (+20.3 per cent) and automotive fuel (+32.1 per cent). 

“Annual price inflation for new dwellings was the strongest recorded since the series commenced in 1999,” Ms Marquardt said. 

CPI data are released by the ABS four times a year and are determined by combining the changes in cost of goods and services over a specified time. 

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