The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

3.4.3 CPI indexation for cost of living

Context

Court orders and court registered agreements or child support agreements often contain clauses providing for an annual adjustment of the amount payable in accordance with changes in the CPI.

Act references

CSRC Act section 4, section 37

CSA Act section 5, Part 6, Part 7

Treatment of CPI clauses

If a court order or court registered agreement provides for a review of the amount payable on a specified date, the arrival of that date is an affecting event (CSRC Act section 4(1)).

An order or child support agreement with a CPI clause will generally state the date on which the comparison is to be made and the particular figures to be used (e.g. the weighted average of CPI figures in all capital cities or a specific capital city). Where an order simply refers to CPI, but not a specific measure of it, the Registrar will use the weighted average of CPI in all capital cities from the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes these figures.

CPI figures used from September 2012

The relevant CPI figures published by the ABS for recent years are provided below.

Period Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Perth Hobart Darwin Canberra Weighted
average
Sep 2022 128.6 129.0 130.2 128.6 124.8 130.5 125.5 128.0 128.4
Jun 2022 125.7 126.4 127.9 125.3 125.4 127.6 123.2 125.6 126.1
Mar 2022 123.7 124.2 125.3 122.7 123.3 125.4 120.7 123.6 123.9
Dec 2021 121.6 121.4 122.6 120.4 119.4 122.9 118.2 120.9 121.3
Sep 2021 120.2 120.1 120.7 118.6 117.7 120.2 117.3 119.7 119.7
Jun 2021 119.4 119.1 119.2 117.8 116.8 119.8 115.6 118.2 118.8
Mar 2021 118.5 118.8 118.2 117.2 114.6 118.5 114.4 117.3 117.9
Dec 2020 118.0 118.4 117.5 116.5 113.0 117.6 111.5 116.3 117.2
Sep 2020 116.8 116.7 116.2 115.7 114.1 116.7 110.8 115.4 116.2
Jun 2020 114.7 115.7 113.6 114.6 112.1 115.6 109.0 112.8 114.4
Mar 2020 117.4 117.8 116.2 115.8 113.5 117.2 111.8 115.5 116.6
Dec 2019 117.1 116.9 116.3 115.4 113.1 116.7 111.5 115.0 116.2
Sep 2019 116.5 115.9 115.5 114.5 112.6 114.7 111.3 114.3 115.4
Jun 2019 115.9 115.3 114.8 113.7 112.0 114.1 111.0 113.5 114.8
Mar 2019 115.1 114.7 114.1 113.1 111.2 113.4 110.1 113.2 114.1
Dec 2018 115.2 114.6 114.0 113.0 111.3 113.6 111.0 113.1 114.1
Sep 2018 114.7 114.0 113.4 112.4 110.8 112.2 110.8 112.3 113.5
Jun 2018 114.0 113.8 112.9 112.1 110.2 111.5 110.1 111.6 113.0
Mar 2018 113.6 113.3 112.4 111.6 110.0 111.1 109.7 111.2 112.6
Dec 2017 113.3 112.3 112.3 111.2 109.9 110.3 109.7 110.3 112.1
Sep 2017 112.5 111.5 111.4 110.4 109.5 109.2 109.4 109.6 111.4
Jun 2017 111.7 111.0 111.0 109.2 109.0 108.9 108.8 108.6 110.7
Mar 2017 111.3 110.9 110.5 109.1 109.0 108.9 108.5 108.6 110.5
Dec 2016 110.9 109.9 110.2 108.7 109.0 108.0 108.6 107.9 110.0
Sep 2016 110.4 109.1 109.7 108.4 108.6 107.1 108.7 107.3 109.4
Jun 2016 109.3 108.6 109.0 107.5 108.2 106.4 108.3 106.4 108.6
Mar 2016 108.7 108.2 108.5 107.0 107.9 106.4 108.0 106.2 108.2
Dec 2015 108.9 108.3 108.5 107.3 108.6 106.6 109.0 106.0 108.4
Sep 2015 108.6 107.6 108.1 107.1 108.1 105.7 108.7 105.8 108.0
Jun 2015 108.3 107.1 107.4 106.8 107.7 105.1 108.3 105.6 107.5
Mar 2015 107.3 106.4 106.7 106.3 107.1 105.0 108.3 105.2 106.8
Dec 2014 106.8 106.3 106.7 106.2 107.0 104.7 108.5 105.3 106.6
Sep 2014 106.6 106.1 106.5 105.9 106.9 104.6 108.3 105.2 106.4
Jun 2014 106.0 105.9 105.8 105.5 106.4 104.5 108.1 104.8 105.9
Mar 2014 105.6 105.3 105.2 105.1 105.6 104.1 107.4 104.6 105.4
Dec 2013 105.0 104.8 104.6 104.4 104.9 103.6 106.5 104.1 104.8
Sep 2013 104.3 104.0 103.8 103.7 104.2 102.6 105.5 103.1 104.0
Jun 2013 103.1 102.6 102.5 102.3 103.0 101.7 104.6 102.5 102.8
Mar 2013 102.7 102.4 102.0 102.1 102.4 101.3 103.7 101.9 102.4
Dec 2012 102.3 102.0 101.9 102.1 101.9 101.0 102.0 101.8 102.0
Sep 2012 102.2 101.6 101.6 101.7 101.6 100.6 102.0 101.4 101.8
Jun 2012 100.5 100.4 100.5 100.2 100.5 99.9 100.7 100.3 100.4
Mar 2012 99.9 99.9 99.9 99.9 100.0 100.3 99.9 99.7 99.9
Dec 2011 99.8 99.9 99.7 100.0 99.8 100.0 99.5 100.1 99.8
Sep 2011* 99.9 99.8 99.9 100.0 99.6 99.9 99.9 99.8 99.8

*Note: The figures from September 2011 to June 2012 have only been provided to enable indexation from September 2012 onwards.

Where a court order or agreement includes a clause providing for an annual adjustment of the amount payable in accordance with changes in CPI, the ABS data will be used to calculate the new amount payable. The table above should be used for any adjustments that are required to use September 2012 CPI indexation figures onwards.

The formula used to apply the CPI inflation factor and calculate the new amount payable is:

Latest quarter index ÷ Earliest quarter index × previous entitlement

Example: A court order provides for the periodic amount of $100 per week to be inflated by the September Sydney CPI on 1 January each year.
September 2021 quarter CPI for Sydney - 120.2
September 2022 quarter CPI for Sydney - 128.6

128.6 ÷ 120.2 × $100
= $106.99

The new periodic amount payable under the court order will be $106.99 per week starting from 1 January 2023.

CPI re-reference

In September 2012, the ABS re-referenced the CPI figures, setting the index base to 100.0 for the reference period 2011-12. The ABS also published conversion factors to allow the figures using the new index reference period to be converted to figures that are consistent with figures published before the re-referencing.

The following table details the historical CPI values before the ABS re-referencing activity.

Period Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Perth Hobart Darwin Canberra Weighted
average
Jun 2012 179.9 177.7 185.8 183.9 180.4 177.9 178.2 180.8 180.4
Mar 2012 178.8 176.8 184.7 183.3 179.5 178.6 176.6 179.7 179.5
Dec 2011 178.7 176.8 184.4 183.5 179.1 178.1 176.0 180.4 179.4
Sep 2011 178.8 176.7 184.7 183.6 178.8 177.9 176.7 179.9 179.4
Jun 2011 177.6 175.6 184.1 181.8 178.4 176.5 175.4 178.7 178.3
Mar 2011 175.9 174.4 182.3 180.0 176.1 174.9 173.7 176.8 176.7
Dec 2010 173.1 171.5 180.0 177.1 174.1 172.6 171.8 174.2 174.0
Sep 2010 172.5 170.5 179.1 176.6 174.0 172.4 171.9 173.4 173.3
Jun 2010 171.1 169.5 177.3 175.0 173.2 170.7 170.1 172.3 172.1
Mar 2010 170.5 168.5 176.0 173.7 171.6 170.0 168.7 171.7 171.0
Dec 2009 169.1 166.4 174.7 172.7 169.7 168.7 167.8 170.6 169.5
Sep 2009 168.1 165.4 174.1 172.1 168.7 167.7 168.0 169.9 168.6
Jun 2009 166.3 164.4 171.8 170.3 167.4 165.7 164.8 167.0 167.0
Mar 2009 165.6 163.9 170.8 169.3 166.0 164.8 163.0 167.4 166.2
Dec 2008 165.5 163.5 170.4 169.3 166.2 164.4 162.9 166.8 166.0
Sep 2008 165.9 164.4 170.8 169.8 166.7 164.7 163.6 167.5 166.5
Jun 2008 164.1 162.5 168.4 167.6 165.1 162.9 160.8 165.0 164.6
Mar 2008 161.7 160.6 165.6 165.5 162.5 161.3 158.5 163.0 162.2

The above table should be used for court orders or agreements that are required to be adjusted using CPI data prior to September 2012.

Example: A court order provides for the periodic amount of $100 per week to be inflated by the March Sydney CPI on 1 July each year.
March 2011 quarter CPI for Sydney - 175.9
March 2012 quarter CPI for Sydney - 178.8
178.8 ÷ 175.9 × $100
= $101.65

The periodic amount will be $101.65 per week starting 1 July 2012.

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