Cost of Living in Australia
In recent years, Australia has become known as an expat destination with a high cost of living. While this is generally true, most expats find that a higher quality of life makes up for it. However, those considering moving down under should be aware of what their potential expenses will be.
According to the 2016 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Sydney ranked as the 42nd most expensive city out of 209 cities surveyed worldwide. It is Australia's second most expensive city to live in, followed by Perth (69th), Melbourne (71st), Canberra (98th) and Adelaide (102nd).
As a result, expats should ensure that the salary they receive is enough to cover their expenses. Australians still complain about stretched household incomes, and the famed social welfare and benefit systems in place in Oz, like Medicare and superannuation, don’t seem to be mitigating the financial discomfort.
Cost of housing in Australia
Shortages of rental properties and continuous landlord rate rises have established surging rental costs in Australia. While economists predict that the rising prices will come to a halt, and perhaps even recede slightly in the next few years, expats will have to be wary that over 30 percent of their monthly income might need to go to the financing the roof over their head.
Cost of healthcare in Australia
Most expats living in Australia won’t be permanent residents and therefore won’t be able to qualify for Medicare, the national universal health insurance coverage. Those that have waded through the red tape to obtain this documentation will, however, find that healthcare in Australia is of a high standard and is extremely affordable.
Medicare is financed by individual tax deductions and allows permanent residents to take advantage of free comprehensive hospital care, as well as free or highly subsidised doctor’s consultations.
Still, some expats may be formally required to prove to the Australian authorities that they are adequately covered by a minimum level of private health insurance to initially be granted their visa.
Private health care costs in Australia can be expensive and, unfortunately, there’s no way for temporary residents to escape these fees aside from forking out for private insurance, which can be a costly venture in itself.
Cost of education in Australia
Expats moving to Australia with kids can rejoice in the knowledge that the public school system is reputable, and in many cases, cheap. However, in some states, temporary resident holders required to pay tuition to enrol their children in the state system.
Otherwise, expats merely need to finance school uniforms, stationary and the somewhat compulsory "voluntary contributions".
For those who prefer to have their children enrolled in a private school or international school, tuition will naturally be required and will tend to be expensive.
Alternatively, somewhere between the state system and the private system lies faith-based schools. Tuition for these institutions is typically higher than public school tuition but lower than private school tuition – and in some cases, faith-based schools can be even cheaper than public schools.
Cost of Living in Australia chart
Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Sydney in April 2017.
|One-bedroom apartment in city centre||AUD 2,600|
|One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre||AUD 1,800|
|Three-bedroom apartment in city centre||AUD 4,500|
|Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre||AUD 2,900|
|Eggs (dozen)||AUD 6|
|Milk (1 litre)||AUD 1.50|
|Rice (1kg)||AUD 2.60|
|Loaf of white bread||AUD 2.85|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||AUD 11|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||AUD 25|
|Big Mac Meal||AUD 10|
|Coca-Cola (330ml)||AUD 3.10|
|Bottle of local beer||AUD 7|
|Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant||AUD 80|
|Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute)||AUD 0.60|
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)||AUD 70|
|Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)||AUD 200|
|Taxi rate (per kilometre)||AUD 2.20|
|Bus/train in the city centre||AUD 4|
|Petrol/gasoline (per litre)||AUD 1.28|