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(Australian Associated Press)
Australian child care costs fell dramatically in the three months to September, helping to keep the nation’s inflation rate in check.
The inflation rate was up 0.4 per cent in the September quarter, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Wednesday shows.
The figure is just short of market expectations of a 0.5 per cent rise, and follows a 0.4 per cent boost in costs in the previous quarter.
The consumer price index was up 1.9 per cent in the 12 months to September, compared to a 2.1 per cent rise in the year to June.
The most significant increase in costs in the September quarter was in the international holiday travel and accommodation sector, where prices rose by 4.3 per cent in the quarter.
Fruit costs rose by 2.4 per cent, while property rates and charges were up by 2.3 per cent.
But those rises were partially offset by a notable fall in child care costs, which were down 11.8 per cent.
The shift follows the introduction of the federal child care subsidy in July, which replaced an existing rebate and benefit.
The cost of telecommunications equipment and services also continued to fall, down by 1.5 per cent in the quarter.
Underlying inflation, which strips out volatile price movements, was up 0.35 per cent in the quarter, and the annual rate was up 1.75 per cent.