Article – Life in the Top End comes at high price

by 26 April 2014

25 April 2014
Ben Smee
NT News

THE cost of living in the Top End continues to climb, according to the latest inflation figures that show prices in Darwin outpacing those in other capitals.

Darwin’s growth was the highest in Australia last quarter and for the past year.

In the 12 months to March, the price of goods and services increased by 3.6 per cent in the Top End. The national average was 3.2 per cent.

Consumer price index increased by 0.8 per cent in Darwin in the first three months of 2014.

There are signs, though, inflation is being brought back under control and key factors such as the price of housing are steadying.

The cost of rent increased by 0.8 per cent in Darwin in the March quarter, the slowest rate of increase in almost two years. Total housing costs increased 1.2 per cent for the same period.

Inflation was driven by drifts in the price of housing, education, fuel, utilities, ­tobacco and meat. Groceries including snack foods, soft drinks, bread, cereal and fruit were cheaper than the previous quarter.

The official Australian Bureau of Statistics inflation figures, in both the Top End and across the country, were softer than expected.

Territory senator Nova Peris said the gap between Darwin and down south was growing.

“We already have the highest cost of living and it is now it is increasing at the fastest rate,” Ms Peris said.

ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun said the lower-than-expected figures followed surprisingly high inflation in the December quarter.

Mr Colhoun said this would allow the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates low.

“This will allow the RBA board to continue this very ­accommodative setting of monetary policy that it currently has for some time further,” he said.

“It’s consistent with the economy recovering slowly but not dramatically.”

Courtesy of NT News

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