Economy

Feb 14, 2018

The government is letting us down on inflation

The highest inflation facing Australian families comes from industries where governments, at least notionally, control prices.

Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane

Crikey business and media commentator / Politics editor

While inflation remains at levels below the Reserve Bank's target band of 2-3% -- thus preventing Australian workers' stagnant wages from turning into real wage falls -- some industries are increasing prices far more rapidly than CPI. And they all tend to have similar characteristics: they're private oligopolies or monopolies in heavily regulated industries. In effect, the greatest sources of price rises for family budgets rely on government permission for those increases.

Take the latest accounts from toll road giant Transurban, which owns toll roads in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and in the United States. Average daily traffic on Transurban Sydney’ roads -- the Cross City Tunnel, Eastern Distributor, M2, M5, M7 and Lane Cove Tunnel -- grew 2.9% in the first half of the financial year, but revenue from those toll roads increased 9.8% to $476 million.

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