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CPI - food outstripping all other goods three to one.

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Senator John Cherry Australian Democrats Agriculture Spokesperson

January 22, 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/29

CPI - food outstripping all other goods three to one Australia’s food prices rose three times faster than the price of all other goods and services according to the Consumer Price Index released today, prompting the Australian Democrats to again call for a detailed investigation of food prices by the ACCC.

Democrats’ Agriculture spokesperson Senator John Cherry said food prices rose in the three months to December by 1.4%, three times the rise of all other goods and services (0.46%).

“That capped off a bad two years for Australian consumers, which saw food prices rise by a total of 10%, compared with just 5% for other goods and services,” Senator Cherry said.

“Food prices in 2001 and 2002 rose by twice the rate of all other goods and services, and five times the rate when the impact of higher housing costs is excluded.

“The CPI also shows that the share of household income that Australians are required to spend on food has also risen sharply, from 22.35% in June 2000 to 25.24% in December 2002.

“The rise in food prices is clearly putting pressure on household budgets and it is time for the ACCC and the Federal Government to act to get to the bottom of this trend.

“It is particularly scandalous that the food item with one of the biggest rises in price was milk, up 4.2% in the last year, and up 10.4% over the past two years despite the deregulation of the dairy industry.

“Australia needs to get to the bottom of what has been going wrong in the food chain in recent years and make sure that farmers and consumers are both getting a fair deal,” Senator Cherry concluded.