Cost of Living in Australia

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The cost of living in Australia is expensiveIn recent years, Australia had become known as an expat destination with a high cost of living due the strengthening of the local currency and a rise in house rental prices across the country.

According to the 2015 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Australian cities witnessed some falls in the rankings as the local currency depreciated against the US Dollar. Sydney (31) is ranked as Australia's most expensive city for expats, however it dropped a number of places from its 2014 spot. Melbourne is ranked at 47th, also falling a number of places. Perth is ranked straight after Melbourne at 48th.

Regardless, 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. Though Sydney certainly claims the most expensive rents in the country, rental prices in Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide, with limited supply and growing demand, are not far behind. 
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 highly subsidised or free doctor’s consultations. 
Still, all expats are 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 (permanent residents can file for an exemption after the fact). 
Private health care costs in Australia can be expensive – in some cases comprehensive care will cost more than 500 AUD per month – and, unfortunately, there’s no way for temporary residents to escape these fees. 

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. Only in select states, namely New South Wales, are 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 be expensive.
Alternatively, somewhere between the state system and the private system lies faith-based schools. Tuition for these institutions usually hovers around 2,000 AUD. Strangely enough, tuition to these schools can cost temporary residents less than fees for public schools (in states where tuition payment is mandatory), and thus they have become popular alternatives that a fair amount of expat families consider and take advantage of. 

Cost of Living in Australia chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for May 2016.
Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)
Furnished two bedroom house AUD 2,800
Unfurnished two bedroom house AUD 2,400
Furnished two bedroom apartment AUD 2,500
Unfurnished two bedroom apartment AUD 2,100
Eggs (dozen) AUD 4.90
Milk (1 litre) AUD 1.50
Rice (1kg) AUD 2.90
Loaf of white bread AUD 2.70
Chicken breasts (1kg) AUD 11
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)  AUD 25
Eating Out
Big Mac Meal    AUD 10
Coca-Cola     AUD 3.20
Cappuccino AUD 4.10
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 0.40
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) AUD 70
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment) AUD 190
Taxi rate (per kilometre) AUD 2.20
Bus/train in the city centre   AUD 4
Petrol/Gasoline (per litre) AUD 1.31

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