JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Living costs all good for workers

Date

Peter Martin

<p></p>

FAR from being squeezed, working Australians are better off than ever, the latest figures show, with lower costs from interest rates counteracting the higher costs imposed by the carbon tax.

Average wages have climbed 3.7 per cent in the past year (3.9 per cent in the private sector, 3.3 per cent in the public sector). But the living costs faced by working households climbed only 1 per cent in the year to September, an increase that takes account of all of the price rises that have so far flowed from the carbon tax.

The stunningly low cost-of-living increase - half the official inflation rate - is because the Bureau of Statistics' cost-of-living measure incorporates household mortgage interest costs, which have slid 6.7 per cent over the year to September and 2.5 per cent in the past three months. It also gives a high weight to motoring costs, which have slid 0.8 per cent in the past three months as a result of lower petrol prices.

The 1 per cent annual increase in living costs is one of the lowest on record and has only been bettered on other occasions when interest rates have been falling.

In Parliament, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet ridiculed a series of ''notorious'' warnings about the carbon tax from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

''He went to the Sanitarium and claimed Weet-Bix prices would be much higher, but breakfast cereal prices fell 0.9 per cent. He went to a dairy farm saying milk would go through the roof. But milk prices are down 0.5 per cent. Senator Barnaby Joyce said a lamb roast would be $100 after the carbon price. But lamb prices are down 2.3 per cent. Tony Abbott said motorists wouldn't be able to get in their car. But there is no carbon price on fuel.''

Other households for which mortgage charges and petrol prices are less important were harder hit. The Bureau of Statistics says the living costs faced by pensioners and households relying on Newstart climbed 2 per cent. The costs faced by self-funded retirees climbed 1.5 per cent.

Separately released figures show private-sector house building approvals up 1.2 per cent in September. Approvals for renovations surged 11.5 per cent. BT Financial Group chief economist Chris Caton said the news was ''not so much a sign of strength as a sign of hope''. Building approvals were volatile and they didn't respond predictably to cuts in interest rates.

The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates by 1.5 percentage points over the past year. Banks have passed on to customers 0.95 points, slicing $184 a month from the cost of servicing a $300,000 mortgage.

Follow the National Times on Twitter

 

55 comments

  • Who makes up this garbage ?????????????????

    Commenter
    rjpg
    Location
    MELBOURNE.
    Date and time
    November 01, 2012, 7:58AM
    • It's not rubbish, it's overall averages of the circumstances of everyone combined. If you happen to be living in poorly insulated rented accommodation and the power and rent's just gone up, but you aren't one of those who's had a pay increase this year, then you'll be in a different situation.

      If you've had a mortgage for three years, drive to work, have had a pay increase, they will.

      Commenter
      bornagirl
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 8:23AM
    • The Bureau of Statistics "makes up this garbage" if you read the article properly. If you have anything more meaningful to contribute than an emotional statement let's have it!

      Commenter
      Harry
      Location
      Churchill
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 8:40AM
    • Why don't I have any of this money? If things are so good, I want my share. Everyone I know seems to be hurting and barely able to pay their ever increasing bills. Lies, lies and more lies as Labor tries to snowball us into content before the upcoming election.

      Commenter
      jane
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 9:24AM
    • Australia, the land of the whinger who despite living in the best country in the world with countless opportunities and with a find standard of living will still find something to moan about.

      Commenter
      Pete
      Location
      Prahran
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 9:37AM
    • Just wondering, Jane, how does that actually work? You think someone from the government gets on the phone and orders the ABS to falsify their figures?

      The whole reason we need this sort of statistical analysis is precisely because subjective experience isn't a terribly good guide to what's actually happening in the economy. Of course, the economy is there to serve human interests and not the other way around, so how we feel about things is of course crucial. But ultimately we're talking about mathematical questions, and gut feeling or personal experience are no way to do maths.

      Commenter
      Regruntled
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 9:57AM
    • DON'T TELL ALAN JONES THAT WE ARE BETTER OFF........COULD NOT BARE THE RANT!!!!!

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 11:16AM
    • rjpg,

      "Who makes up this garbage "

      Oh dear.

      Do you have any counter-arguments to mount - you know, like why you believe that the figures are incorrect?

      No, I didn't think so.

      Actually, there is no surprise in the figures at all. At the moment, the world is in the grip of a persistent recession or, as it is being described more frequently, a "contained depression". This may not be immediately obvious in Australia, which continues to buck the trend by consistently recording strong investment growth, low unemployment, the highest level of business investment in a century and negligible public debt but, if you were reading this in London or Athens, you would know exactly how bad things really are.

      Now, a funny thing happens during depressions. When we think about the Great Depression, we tend to think of images of Hoovervilles in parks around the US, and long lines of unemployed people waiting for work or for a hand-out from the soup kitchens. But we don't often see images of the lucky few who managed to keep their jobs, and this is largely because they did pretty well out of the Depression and it wasn't really worth taking photos of them.

      Now, one of the symptoms of depression is a thing called "price deflation", where vendors, desperate for ANY revenue, drop prices and cop losses.

      In Australia, thanks largely to prompt action from Mr Swan when the GFC first hit, we have not seen the collapse in employment that accompanies most economic downturns, and this has kept Australians in work and businesses open. But much of what we consume is imported from places where price deflation is a reality.

      WIth wages rising slowly and prices falling, it is hardly surprising that the employed are better off.

      Commenter
      v
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 11:26AM
    • jane,

      "If things are so good, I want my share."

      And what, exactly, have you done to earn your "share"?

      The simple fact is that, if you have a job and are lucky enough to live in Australia, you are among the world's most comfortable and affluent citizens.

      I'm going to go out on a limb here jane, and suggest to you that, like everybody else on earth, you are involved in the search for happiness. And I'm going to offer you a short-cut: Don't worry about what OTHERS have, or about what you believe you SHOUD have: simply celebrate and appreciate what you DO have.

      Now, in Australia, we have lots of reasons to celebrate at the moment. Our unemployment level is low and contained, as is our inflation rate. Interest rates are lower than at any time in the past thirty years, and business investment is at record levels (despite predictions of massive capital flight by the hyenas of the opposition).

      But, as far as I am concerned, the statistic that proves beyond doubt that anyone who is in work and complaining about "doing it tough" is basically a whinger, is the median wealth of Australian citizens, which is the highest in the world. Unlike "average wealth", the "median wealth" of an economy accurately measures the wealth of the average citizen. If you lines up a hundred people from richest to poorest, the wealth of person number 50 is the median wealth.

      The median wealth numbers demonstrate just how well our economy has handled the GFC, especially when measured against other, comparable economies. They also indicate that the wealth is being distributed more fairly than virtually anywhere else in the world.

      It is alsays easy to whinge, but ignoring the facts makes it easier, doesn't it jane.

      Commenter
      v
      Date and time
      November 01, 2012, 11:42AM
  • I do believe electricity, water, gas, council rates and insurance charges have been rising at an uncomfortable rate for many of us. The price on carbon is a minor impost in the context of rises due to other reasons.

    But the Abbott scare campaigns are now being shown up as baseless and the LNP is rightly copping it in the polls.

    When you make extraordinary claims you had better back it up with extraordinary evidence!

    Commenter
    Harry
    Location
    Churchill
    Date and time
    November 01, 2012, 8:23AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed
    Featured advertisers

    Special offers

    Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo