The 2021 WA Regional Price Index (RPI) has been released by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). But what is the RPI and what does it mean for the Kimberley?
The RPI measures price changes experienced by households in Regional WA. The simplest way of thinking about the RPI is to imagine a basket of goods and services comprising items bought by Regional WA households, for example, food, housing, transportation. Now imagine the basket is purchased at a certain frequency. As prices change from one period to the next, so too will the total price of the basket. Because it indicates price changes for a broad range of items, the index could be a useful indicator for a shift in economic conditions.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development conducts research into the RPI every two years. It compares the cost of a basket of goods and services in regional and remote Western Australia to the same items in the Perth metropolitan area using a methodology based on the consumer price index calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Findings of the most recent RPI report show that, in 2021, the Kimberley was on average 10.8% more expensive to live in than Perth, with Fitzroy Crossing being the most expensive place to live in the Kimberley at an average 13.4% more expensive than Perth. The good news is that all Kimberley centres are relatively more affordable than they were in 2019. The most notable improvement was in Halls Creek with an improvement in the cost of the basket of goods and services of 14.6% since 2019. Derby has again shown an improvement in the level of prices and remains the most affordable place to live in the Kimberley after Wyndham. The interactive map below shows the RPI for towns across WA. The bigger the bubble, the more expensive prices are on average in relation to Perth (100).