Index of Retail Prices in Queensland Regional Centres, May 2010
- Executive Summary
- Full Basket Indexes
- Partial Basket Indexes
- Basic basket, food, tobacco and other groceries index, remote and very remote centres
- Explanatory Notes
- Appendix: Full basket indexes
Figure 1. All centres, Queensland
This publication contains information derived from a survey of regional retail prices of goods and services in 75 selected Queensland cities and towns (see Figure 1). The survey was conducted in May 2010. The information is expressed in the form of index numbers, which allow comparison of relative retail prices between selected centres and the average for the Brisbane Statistical Division (Brisbane) at the time of the survey. This type of index, where prices are compared across geographical locations, is called a ‘spatial price index’ (SPI).
The index is presented on the basis of Brisbane as the benchmark (Brisbane = 100.0). The index number for each centre indicates the relative level of prices in that centre compared with Brisbane. For example, the indexes of housing (109.2) and all items less housing (99.9) for Gold Coast indicate that housing prices are 9.2 per cent higher than in Brisbane and overall prices as measured by the all items less housing index are 0.1 per cent lower than in Brisbane.
For the purposes of this publication SPIs were compiled based on three different ‘baskets’ of items. A ‘full basket’ of items was priced in 43 centres, a ‘partial basket’ was priced in a further 18 centres and a ‘basic basket’ of items was priced in another 14 remote and very remote centres.
The full basket indexes are based on a comprehensive range of goods and services purchased by Queensland households. The list of items in the full basket was based on those used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to calculate the Consumer Price Index (see explanatory notes on page 17 for further details).
Table 1. Range of full basket indexes
|Index||Lowest value||Highest value||Range|
|— index —||index range|
|Alcohol and tobacco||89.0||113.7||24.7|
|Clothing and footwear||86.4||125.8||39.4|
|Household content and services||91.7||110.4||18.7|
|Health, education and communication||98.3||101.8||3.5|
|Financial and insurance services||95.9||105.7||9.8|
|All items less housing||97.3||105.9||8.6|
The survey found that:
- Prices paid by Queensland households varied across the State with overall prices being higher than the Brisbane average in eight out of 43 centres.
- Lower housing costs in the majority of centres in regional Queensland had a major impact on the overall result. When housing is excluded from the overall index, 26 centres recorded prices higher than Brisbane.
- The three centres with the highest All items index (5.1 to 13.9 index points above Brisbane) and the highest Housing index (15.3 to 65.4 index points above Brisbane) were Blackwater, Moranbah and Mount Isa. In the All items less housing index the same three centres had a range of only 0.1 to 2.3 index points higher than Brisbane.
The differences between the centres with the highest and lowest indexes also varied considerably across the various index types (see Table 1). While the range for the All items index was 21.8 index points (from 92.1 to 113.9), the Housing index had a range of 108.7 index points (from 56.7 to 165.4). When housing is excluded from the overall index, the variation is reduced to 8.6 index points. Substantial ranges in prices were also recorded for Clothing and footwear (39.4 index points), Alcohol and tobacco (24.7 index points), Recreation (24.1 index points), Food (19.4 index points) and Household content and services (18.7 index points).
The items in the partial basket only account for 45 per cent of the full basket of goods and services, and therefore an overall index was not compiled for this basket. Instead, four component indexes were produced from the partial basket:
- Food, alcohol and tobacco;
- Other grocery items;
- Fuel; and
In all four components there were substantial ranges in prices recorded, from 42.9 index points for Food, alcohol and tobacco to 145.4 index points for Rent (see Table 2).
Table 2. Range of partial basket indexes
|Index||Lowest value||Highest value||Range|
|— index —||index range|
|Food, alcohol and tobacco||95.4||138.3||42.9|
A further subset of basic basket items was priced in 14 centres classified as remote and very remote by the Accessibility/Remote Index of Australia (ARIA+). For comparison purposes, the equivalent index was compiled for a further 15 remote and very remote centres and for Brisbane. This was a basket of basic purchases and included only Food, tobacco and other groceries. Prices paid for food, tobacco and other groceries were higher in all of these centres relative to Brisbane. This index ranged from 100.9 in Mount Isa to 160.8 in Lockhart River.
Full Basket Indexes
Full basket, All items index
The All items index provides an overall measure of relative prices as it covers the full basket of goods and services purchased by Queensland households.
Of the 43 centres where a full basket of items was priced, eight recorded prices higher than Brisbane and 35 centres recorded lower prices. Figure 2 and Table 3 show that compared with Brisbane, the three centres with the highest All items index were Moranbah (13.9 per cent higher than Brisbane), followed by Blackwater (7.9 per cent higher) and Mount Isa (5.1 per cent higher).
Figure 2. All items index, Queensland
The centres with the lowest All items index compared with Brisbane were in regional Queensland. Prices in Maryborough were 7.9 per cent lower than Brisbane, Charters Towers prices were 7.6 per cent lower and Innisfail and Gympie prices were 7.3 per cent lower than Brisbane
Table 3. Full basket, All items index
Full basket, Housing index
The Housing index includes the cost of rents for dwellings, electricity and other household fuels.
Of the 43 centres surveyed for the full basket, 10 centres recorded a higher housing index than Brisbane (see Figure 3 and Table 4)
Figure 3. Housing index, Queensland
The centre with the highest Housing index was Moranbah, where the cost of housing was 65.4 per cent higher than Brisbane. The next highest price for housing was in Blackwater (30.7 per cent higher), and then Mount Isa which was 15.3 per cent higher than Brisbane. The centres with the lowest Housing index compared with Brisbane were Charleville (43.3 per cent lower), St George (38.2 per cent lower), Stanthorpe (35.1 per cent lower) and Ingham (34.4 per cent lower).
Table 4. Full basket, Housing index
|Centre||Index||Difference from Brisbane|
Full basket, All items less housing index
When the cost of housing is excluded from the All items index, the price for the basket of goods and services was higher than Brisbane in 26 of the 43 centres. Of the 26 centres, 10 centres were less than 1.0 per cent higher, and seven centres were less than 2.0 per cent higher. The majority of these centres were in the north and west of the State (see Figure 4 and Table 5).
Figure 4. All items less housing index, Queensland
Charleville had the highest All items less housing index (5.9 per cent higher than Brisbane). The centres of Longreach (4.7 per cent higher than Brisbane), St George (3.4 per cent higher) and Mareeba (3.3 per cent higher) had the next highest All items less housing indexes compared with Brisbane. When the cost of housing is excluded from the All items index, the centre with the lowest All items less housing index was Caboolture, which was 2.7 per cent lower than Brisbane. Redlands had the second lowest All items less housing index (2.4 per cent lower than Brisbane), followed by Gympie and Maryborough both at 2.3 per cent lower.
Table 5. All items less housing index, Queensland
|Centre||Index||Difference from Brisbane|
Full basket, Transportation index
Of the 43 centres surveyed, 24 centres had a higher Transportation index than Brisbane, 18 centres had a lower Transportation index than Brisbane and one centre was equal to Brisbane (see Figure 5 and Table 6). The items included in the calculation of the index included the price of a new car, automotive fuel, tyres, oil, spark plugs, labour charges, registration, licences, vehicle club membership and taxi fares. In the centres where there were no new car dealers, prices were collected from the closest new car dealer.
Figure 5. Transportation index, Queensland
Biloela had the highest Transportation index, with a cost of transportation 9.0 per cent higher than Brisbane. The regional centres of Charleville, Charters Towers, Gympie, Kingaroy and Warwick all recorded a Transportation index between 4.0 and 7.0 per cent higher than Brisbane. Maryborough had the lowest Transportation index compared with Brisbane (5.6 per cent lower). Ingham and Innisfail both recorded a Transportation index 3.3 per cent lower than Brisbane.
Table 6. Full basket, Transportation index
|Centre||Index||difference from Brisbane|
Partial Basket Indexes
A partial basket of items was priced in an additional 18 centres which had a population of more than 3,000 persons. The 18 centres were made up of 11 new centres, and seven centres priced in previous SPI surveys but for which a full basket of items was not priced in 2010. Four separate indexes were produced from the partial basket of items: Food, alcohol and tobacco; Other groceries; Fuel; and Rent (see Table 7). No overall index was produced as these items only represent around 45 per cent of household purchases of goods and services.
Food, alcohol and tobacco index – the centres with the highest Food, alcohol and tobacco index were Thursday Island (38.3 per cent higher than Brisbane) and Winton (34.2 per cent higher than Brisbane). The centres with the lowest Food, alcohol and Tobacco index were Caboolture and Logan which were 4.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent lower than the Brisbane average respectively.
Other groceries index – Thursday Island and Winton had the highest Other groceries index (56.9 and 42.3 per cent higher than Brisbane respectively). The centre with the lowest Other groceries index was Emerald which was 5.2 per cent lower than Brisbane.
Fuel index – Thursday Island had the highest Fuel index (45.8 per cent higher than Brisbane), followed by Quilpie (15.6 per cent higher than Brisbane). Redcliffe had the lowest Fuel index, which was 5.9 per cent lower than the Brisbane average.
Rent index – the centres with the highest Rent index were Dysart (77.2 per cent higher than Brisbane), Moranbah (71.6 per cent higher) and Blackwater (33.6 per cent higher). The centre with the lowest Rent index was Cunnamulla (68.2 per cent lower than Brisbane), followed by Hughenden and Quilpie (64.1 and 63.3 per cent lower than Brisbane respectively).
Table 7. Partial basket indexes
|Centre||Food, alcohol and tobacco||Other groceries||Fuel||Rent|
|Index||Difference from Brisbane||Index||Difference from Brisbane|
|index||per cent||index||per cent||index||per cent||index||per cent|
Basic basket, food, tobacco and other groceries index, remote and very remote centres
The prices of items included in the Food, tobacco and other groceries index were collected in 14 remote and very remote centres throughout Queensland to provide an indication of the relative prices of food, tobacco and other groceries in these centres relative to Brisbane. For comparison purposes the corresponding index was also compiled for 15 remote and very remote centres where other indexes had been collected. The remote and very remote centres are classified by the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+).
All the 29 remote and very remote centres recorded prices higher than Brisbane (see Figure 6 and Table 8). Lockhart River had the highest Basic basket index, at 60.8 per cent higher than Brisbane. There were six other centres that recorded an index at least 50 per cent higher than Brisbane. They were Kowanyama (57.4 per cent), Murray Island (57.3 per cent), Doomadgee and Mapoon (both 53.6 per cent), followed by Pormpuraaw (53.5 per cent) and Burketown (52.9 per cent). Another eight centres recorded an index at least 30 per cent higher than Brisbane. They were Thursday Island (46.1 per cent), Winton (41.6 per cent), Normanton (40.6 per cent), Karumba (39.8 per cent), Croydon (38.5 per cent), Hope Vale (33.5 per cent), Weipa (33.2 per cent) and Palm Island (30.9 per cent). Cloncurry and Mount Isa recorded an index 1.0 per cent and 0.9 per cent higher than Brisbane respectively.
Figure 6. Basic basket, food, tobacco and other groceries index, remote and very remote centres, Queensland
Table 8. Basic basket index, remote and very remote centres (a)
|Centre||Food, tobacco and other groceries||Difference from Brisbane|
|Very remote centres|
|(a) Based on Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+)|
This publication contains information derived from a survey of regional retail prices of goods and services in selected Queensland cities and towns conducted in May 2010. The information is expressed in the form of index numbers, which allow comparison of relative retail prices between selected centres and Brisbane Statistical Division average (Brisbane) at the time of the survey.
This survey, previously conducted annually from 1990 to 1995, then in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2006, includes a range of goods and services priced in centres throughout Queensland. For each of the ‘baskets’ of items priced, the derived indexes provide an indication of the relative difference between the cost of the selected basket in Brisbane and the corresponding cost of that same basket in each of the centres surveyed. This, in turn, gives an indication of relative differences in the cost of living across Queensland at one point in time. The indexes, therefore, not only provide an indication of the extent of the price differences between Brisbane and other centres, but also provide a measure of the spatial pattern of prices between centres across Queensland. This type of index is called a ‘spatial price index’ as it provides an indication of price variation between different locations at a specific point in time (in this case, May 2010).
Differences in living costs that result from differences in consumption patterns between localities are not reflected in the index numbers. Users of the data should be aware that the appropriateness of the items and weights used will vary from centre to centre, and that the differences in price levels as indicated by the indexes should be regarded as indicative rather than absolute. Similarly, given that the information is collected at one point in time, the relativities represented by the indexes are subject to seasonal and other influences that affect price levels in different centres at different points in time.
All indexes are presented on the basis of Brisbane Statistical Division as the benchmark (Brisbane = 100.0). The index number for each centre indicates the relative level of prices in that centre compared with Brisbane. For example, the indexes of Housing (109.2) and All items less housing (99.9) for Gold Coast indicate that housing prices are 9.2 per cent higher than in Brisbane and overall prices as measured by the All items less housing index are 0.1 per cent lower than in Brisbane.
The survey data were collected by trained statistical field staff who visited retail outlets and service establishments in each locality. As far as possible, goods and services of similar specifications were priced at each centre. Prices collected were for the same brand and package size across regional centres. Field staff recorded prices in ‘survey books’. The survey book allowed a choice from a range of items in each category and, when a listed item was not available, the price and detail of a substitute item were recorded. All substituted items were then priced in Brisbane.
All centres were allocated at least one survey book, with the number of books allocated to each centre being approximately in proportion with population size. For example, two books were priced for Cairns, with books being completed in the northern and southern suburbs respectively. Brisbane Statistical Division, being the reference centre for comparing prices and having the largest population, was allocated 11 books, including four books for Brisbane City.
In calculating the spatial price indexes, the weights applied to each item were derived using data from the ABS publications A Guide to the Consumer Price Index, 15th Series (cat. no. 6440.0) and Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items, 2003–04 (cat. no. 6535.0.55.001).
Full basket indexes
The data collected for the full basket allow a spatial overview of the relative cost associated with a full basket of goods and services in 43 centres across the State. The full basket was made up of nine broad groups of items: food; alcohol and tobacco; clothing and footwear; housing; household contents and services; health, education and communication; transportation; recreation; and financial and insurance services (see Appendix). The full basket survey book listed 211 items.
For some categories, where the same price applies across the State, such as education, communication and financial services and some components of health, prices were not collected separately from localities but the same price was applied across all centres. In the case of housing, a ‘cost of use’ approach was used, which measures the economic value of the services provided by a dwelling. The price of these services was measured by the rental value of the dwellings in each centre with owner-occupied dwellings imputed in line with rented dwellings. Detailed data on rents were obtained from the Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority.
In compiling the indexes, the price of each item was weighted according to its relative importance to total household expenditure. The weights used in combining the collected prices are derived from estimates of household consumption or expenditure used for compilation of the ABS Consumer Price Index.
Partial basket indexes
In centres with a population of more than 3,000 persons, a partial basket of items was priced. The partial basket was collected in an additional 18 centres and the data used to compile four component indexes: Food, alcohol and tobacco; Other groceries; Fuel; and Rent. There were 111 categories of items listed in the survey books for the partial basket. No overall index was compiled for the partial basket as it only accounted for 45 per cent of the full basket of goods and services.
In compiling the indexes from the partial basket, actual weights varied from those used for the full basket index, although relative weights for each item priced were held constant to reflect relative expenditure on these items.
A basket of basic items was priced in a further 14 centres classified as remote or very remote (based on ARIA+). This basket measured the relative prices for food, tobacco and other groceries in these centres. For comparison purposes, the equivalent index was compiled for a further 15 remote and very remote centres across Queensland visited to collect prices for the full and partial basket indexes. The survey books for the basic basket listed 92 items.
In compiling the indexes from the basic basket, actual weights varied from those used for the full basket index, although relative weights for each item priced were held constant to reflect relative expenditure on these items.
Appendix: Full basket indexes
Appendix: Full basket indexes, Queensland, May 2010
|Centre||Food||Alcohol and tobacco||Clothing and footwear||Housing||Household contents and services||Health, education and communication||Transportation||Recreation||Financial and insurance services||All items||All items less housing|
|— index —|
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Last reviewed 30 April 2012