Article – Calls for own CPI in North Queensland

2 February 2014
Hailey Renault
The North West Star
INCREASES in essentials such as insurance, fuel and electricity for Mount Isans aren’t reflected in national data, however, there’s an increasing call for North Queensland to get its own Consumer Price Index to accurately reflect cost pressures.
Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald and Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia member George Christensen (Federal Member for Dawson) have already made calls to establish a CPI in North Queensland.
Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Joyce McCulloch said the North West should be considered in every statistic and it was about time the disparity was recognised.
“We get a lot of inquiries for statistics, but really, we don’t have any statistics to go by out here,” she said.
“I think it [having our own CIP] would help business out here especially when they do research to see if businesses are viable.”
North Queensland economist Colin Dwyer agreed there was a major difference between cost pressures in Mount Isa and Townsville compared to Brisbane.
“We have close to one million people in that area [north of Rockhampton] and that’s a million or so people that aren’t getting accurate information about price changes,” he said.
Mr Dwyer said a major summary of national inflation data didn’t comment on energy prices as an increasing cost to consumers and noted national insurance costs had only increased marginally.
He said northern households felt significant price rises for home insurance and energy costs  pressures, which weren’t reflected in data from Brisbane.
Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald called on the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week to extend its reach when calculating the CPI so economic decisions  reflected the reality of those living in the North.
“Unfortunately there are no official CPI figures for any city in North Queensland, not even Townsville,” he said.
Courtesy of the North West Star