(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

There are types of news that strike like lightning. Then there are those that rumble like the grind of tectonic plates. Inflation is in the latter group. Rarely is there an event that causes inflation to make the news. A single item rising in price in a single store seems frivolous. And yet the shifting of tectonic plates raises enormous mountain ranges, and inflation can topple governments.

When the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collected prices to create the consumer price index (CPI) for the June quarter, it was documenting an event of significant rarity and magnitude. Inflation of more than 6% has been seen only once in the past three decades -- and that was when Australia brought in the GST. Before that you need to go back to the very early 1990s to find inflation at such heights.

(Image: Supplied/Jason Murphy)
(Image: Supplied)

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is supposed to keep inflation between 2%-3%. People were concerned when it missed to the downside by a fraction of a percentage point. This is a far bigger miss: it is the one-in-30-years flood of price changes.