When Belgrave South father-of-two Kevin Harrison recently noticed he had less money in his pocket at the end of every week, he started to take note of the price he was spending per week.

“I am a carpenter who is in charge of a team of five, I’d say I’d drive 800 kilometres a week; work takes me everywhere,” he said. “Petrol prices are certainly something I have to take into account. I’ve had to pay my five workers a bit more every week, as all of us spend that kind of money on petrol; 50 bucks a week more to cover their travelling.”

According to data released on Wednesday by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, fuel prices have risen by more than 10 per cent in the three months to June.

Now spending around $100 a week to run his diesel ute, Mr Harrison says the rise in petrol costs have started to hit the family budget.

“It’s not just my car either, it’s my wife too,” he said. “We have two daughters aged 13 and 17 who are heavily involved in sports, I say we would be driving somewhere with the kids every night.”

Increased petrol prices over the past three months have resulted in a better-than-expected boost for inflation, with some economists anticipating a weaker price could have pushed the RBA to cut rates in August.

I’ve had to pay my five workers a bit more every week, as all of us spend that kind of money on petrol

Belgrave South father-of-two Kevin Harrison

ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said fuel costs made up for half of the 0.6 per cent rise for the June quarter. After no movement in the March quarter, fuel prices managed to push inflation rates to a June year-to-year rise of 1.6 per cent.

“Automotive fuel prices returned to levels recorded in late 2018 after falling 8.7 per cent in the March quarter 2019,” he said. “Automotive fuel prices rose 10.2 per cent in the June quarter 2019. Through the year, utility prices have fallen 0.2 per cent and child care has fallen 7.9 per cent following the introduction of the Child Care Subsidy package in July 2018.”

Other significant rises that helped move inflation across the June quarter were medical and hospital services, up 2.6 per cent, international holiday travel and accommodation up 2.7 per cent and tobacco, which saw an increase of 2.4 per cent.

During the same period, prices for fruit and vegetables fell by 2.8 per cent, costs for domestic holiday travel and accommodation dropped by 1.5 per cent and electricity bills fell 1.7 per cent.

The increase also gave the Aussie dollar a boost, which quickly moved into the green from $U68.62 to $US68.84.

The RBA opted to cut official interest rates to 1 per cent, the lowest level on record, following a flat inflation print in the first quarter of the year.

Extracted from WA Today