Date Published : Thursday, July 24, 2008
The government has called on banks to "ease the pain" for Australian consumers after new figures revealed that rising inflation and higher interest rates are "clobbering" the cost of living, it has been reported.
According to news.com.au, the latest snapshot from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows petrol prices increased by 8.7 per cent in the three months to June, while food prices have risen by 3.9 per cent annually.
Within this average, however, there were higher individual rises that affected many staples, including milk (up 12.1 per cent), cheese (up 14.2 per cent), bread (up 6.8 per cent) and poultry (up 11 per cent).
Combined, these higher prices hit consumers' pockets and lifted inflation by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year - pushing the annual rate to 4.5 per cent. The Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) target for inflation control is two to three per cent, the site said.
Responding to the figures, Treasury secretary Terry Swan said he would not "sugar-coat" the bitter pill of dealing with inflation, adding that it will take "a significant amount of time" to bring upward economic pressure under control.
In order to avoid adding to the financial strain, the minister urged banks to take "great care" when considering their rates for home loans and other forms of borrowing.
According to Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharan Burrow, the banks have increased interest rates above the RBA rate four times in 2008.
"Home buyers with a typical loan are now paying an extra $100 a fortnight more than they were at the start of the year," she said.
According to ABS figures for 2005-06, the average new home loan is $210,000.
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