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Carbon tax had little impact on CPI: Swan

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CANBERRA, Jan 23 AAP

January 23 2013, 1:12PM

Treasurer Wayne Swan says inflation has moderated and there's been no significant impact from the introduction of the carbon tax.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the consumer price index (CPI) rose by just 0.2 per cent in the December quarter, which was half of what economists expected.

This was a sharp slowdown down from the 1.4 per cent jump in the September quarter and left the annual inflation rate at 2.2 per cent.

Underlying measures of inflation grew by an average 0.55 per cent in the December quarter, for an annual rate of 2.3 per cent.

Mr Swan said the result reflected subdued price pressures across the board with a number of seasonal factors putting downward pressure on inflation.

"Importantly, today's result provides further evidence that there has been no significant broad-based increase in consumer prices as a result of the carbon price," Mr Swan told reporters in Brisbane.

"That is a result which is entirely consistent with Treasury modelling. In fact, much of the impact of the carbon price on inflation occurred in the previous quarter."

The data also showed the "scare campaign" from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the Liberals about the carbon tax had been exposed as "fraudulent", the treasurer said.

"There has been a very modest impact on inflation and Mr Abbott's prediction of legs of lamb costing $100, Gladstone and Whyalla being wiped out have come to naught," he said.

Despite this, the opposition was still intent on "ripping out of the system" government assistance associated with the carbon tax, like the tripling of the tax-free threshold, increases to family payments and pension increases, Mr Swan said.