Australia Cost of Living

Australia Cost of Living

The Land Down Under has always been one of the most sought-after vacation spots. Featuring excellent weather, diverse adventure options, jaw-dropping scenery, and unique wildlife, Australia has a lot to offer every kind of travel enthusiast.

But apart from tourists, an increasing number of people are also seeking to make Australia their home — be it due to the popularity of digital nomadism or the country’s booming economy!

However, one thing that you need to consider before making the big move is how expensive is it to live in Australia.

So, whether you are relocating temporarily or permanently, here is an in-depth look at the cost of living in Australia.

Why Live In Australia?

Australia is a unique land of diverse landscapes, including flora, fauna, and beautiful culture, thanks to its geographic location. However, the most important aspects that make Australia one of the best countries to live in are its high quality of life, strong economy, high-quality education and healthcare systems, and great job opportunities.

In 2024, Australia continues to rank highly in global quality of life indices. It is known for its robust healthcare system, which contributes to the country’s high life expectancy of 84.06 years. The healthcare index remains high, reflecting the excellent medical services available to residents.

Australia also boasts a strong and stable economy, with an average annual income of AUD $81,508 (USD $55,206), which is higher than the OECD average. Job opportunities are plentiful, and the country’s unemployment rate is low.

In terms of happiness, Australia consistently ranks among the top countries in the world. The sense of community is strong, with 93% of people believing they have someone to rely on in times of need, which is higher than the OECD average.

Education is another key highlight, with Australians expected to receive 20.4 years of education, the highest level within the OECD. The country provides extensive support programs to help youth transition from school to work, ensuring a high employment rate among young adults.

With more than 7.6 million migrants living in Australia, the country has a very diverse population that is ever-evolving, enhancing its rich cultural tapestry.

How Much Does It Cost To Live in Australia?

Australia ranks among the top countries with a high cost of living. As of 2024, it remains one of the most expensive countries, surpassing major nations like the US, the UK, Japan, France, Canada, and Italy. Living in Australia is costlier than in approximately 84% of the countries worldwide.

A family of four will typically spend around $3,950 (AU$5,920) per month, while a single person can expect to spend about $1,100 (AU$1,650) per month, excluding rent.

However, the actual cost will depend on where you live and your lifestyle. For instance, renting in major cities like Sydney or Melbourne is significantly more expensive than living in regional areas. Additionally, food costs are quite high in Australia, so cooking at home and limiting dining out can help reduce monthly expenses.

Other factors influencing your cost of living include your entertainment preferences, clothing expenditures, and whether you have school-going children. Each of these factors can significantly impact your overall monthly budget.

Housing Cost In Australia

Housing prices in Australia vary widely depending on the location. Location is everything when it comes to determining housing costs.

In 2024, renting a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you around AU$2,450 per month, while one outside the city centre will be cheaper at approximately AU$1,900 per month.

Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth have higher than average rental prices. For example, in Sydney, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is around AU$2,750 per month. In contrast, cities like Darwin and Hobart have lower median house prices. It’s important to note that areas with higher rent often offer more job opportunities.

Buying an apartment in the city centre is significantly more expensive than outside the city centre. In 2024, the average cost of an apartment in the city centre is approximately AU$11,500 per square meter, while the cost outside the city centre is around AU$8,500 per square meter.

Cost Of Utilities In Australia

Utility costs in Australia can be quite high. On average, the cost of basic utilities for an 85m² apartment is approximately AU$307.20 per month. This amount includes essential utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage.

Here’s a breakdown of some common utility costs per month to help you calculate your total:

  • Basic Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): AU$307.20
  • Prepaid Mobile Tariff (Local, No Discounts or Plans): AU$0.72 per minute
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL): AU$75

These costs can vary depending on factors such as location, the number of residents, and individual usage patterns. For example, residents in Victoria pay around AU$74 per month for gas, while those in New South Wales spend about AU$68 per month. Additionally, internet costs can differ slightly based on the provider and the plan chosen.

The Australian government has introduced an Energy Bill Relief Fund for 2024-25, providing an AU$300 annual rebate for all households to help ease utility costs

Transportation In Australia

If you are going to work in Australia or have kids that will travel to school, you need to add your transportation costs to your monthly budget. Australia is also a vast continent with many beautiful places to explore, so you may want to factor in long journeys to beautiful destinations.

Fortunately, public transport is pretty great in Australia. You have four options — bus, train, tram, and ferry — to choose from. Each city has a separate network of transport, and most even have commuter cards like MyWay or Opal cards that make payments that much easier.

However, even after excellent public transport facilities, driving is the most popular transport option. However, it is also very costly, with 1 litre of gasoline costing nearly AU $2.03 as of 2024​.

If you don’t want to travel by public transport or own a car, you can take a taxi to commute from one place to another. The starting cost for a taxi journey is AU$ 6.00, and the cost per mile averages AU$ 4.35.

If you want to travel a long distance from one city to another, there are three domestic Australian Airlines: Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia.

Cost Of Food In Australia

Grocery shopping can be quite expensive in Australia, with prices being relatively consistent across the country. Whether you live in a big city or a suburban area, you will likely face high grocery bills.

The size of your family will influence your monthly grocery expenses. A single person can expect to spend around AU$450 per month, while two-person and four-person families may spend approximately AU$650 and AU$850, respectively, per month.

Budgeting your grocery expenses and minimizing overspending is crucial. Here are a few basic commodities and their current prices in Australia:

Item Cost (AUD)
A loaf of white bread AU$3.40
1 liter of milk AU$2.10
One dozen eggs AU$6.13
1 kg rice AU$2.94
1 kg beef round AU$19.50
1 kg chicken fillets AU$11.50
1 kg local cheese AU$13.00
1 kg tomatoes AU$6.50
1 kg apples AU$4.80
1 kg bananas AU$3.80

If you enjoy dining out, be prepared for high costs. Restaurants in Australia are relatively expensive, with a three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant costing around AU$120.00.

To avoid overspending, reduce the frequency of eating out and opt for fresh homemade meals instead. However, one indulgence you might find worth the cost is coffee. Australians take pride in their coffee culture, and a regular cappuccino costs around AU$5.30, but it is worth a try.

Cost Of Healthcare In Australia

Australia easily has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. It offers tax-aided Medicare facilities for residents, which includes public hospitals and health organizations, for free or at a meager cost.

Expats from many countries, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, and other countries that are in reciprocal health agreements with Australia, can also avail of Medicare facilities.

The cost of private health insurance varies depending on the level of coverage and the provider. On average, a basic private health insurance plan for a single person costs around AU$110 per month, while a comprehensive plan can be upwards of AU$250 per month.

Additionally, the Australian government offers a private health insurance rebate to help offset the cost of premiums, with the rebate percentage varying based on income and age.

Childcare Costs in Australia

Childcare in Australia includes various options such as long-day care, outside-of-school hours care, family daycare, and preschool. On average, childcare and education in Australia can cost parents up to AU$7,500 annually. The cost can vary depending on the number of hours of childcare accessed, the type of care selected, and the location. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne tend to be more expensive for childcare compared to cities like Adelaide or Hobart​​.

Long-day care, which can extend for up to 10 hours a day, typically costs between AU$80 and AU$200 per day​​. Preschools can cost between AU$50 and AU$85 per day​​. Family daycare, provided by an educator in their home, can cost parents anywhere from AU$8 to AU$20 per hour​. Outside school hours care fees can range from AU$18 to AU$35 per session for morning or before-school care and between AU$28 and AU$50 for after-school sessions​.

Government subsidies and programs are available to help reduce the cost burden of childcare, provided the eligibility criteria are met. The Childcare Subsidy (CCS) program is designed to assist eligible families based on their combined family income. The subsidies under this program can range from 0 to 90% depending on the combined family income.

For more detailed information, you can visit our page on Childcare Costs for Expats in Australia.

Australia Income Tax

Like many other countries, Australia, too, follows a progressive tax system. This means that the more you earn, the higher in taxes you pay. It has a minimum threshold of AU$ 18,200. So, someone earning lower than the threshold amount does have to pay any taxes.

For more information, check our page about Tax Provisions in Australia.

Taxable income Tax on this income
0 – $18,200 Nil
$18,201 – $45,000 19 cents for each $1 over $18,200
$45,001 – $120,000 $5,092 plus 32.5 cents for each $1 over $45,000
$120,001 – $180,000 $29,467 plus 37 cents for each $1 over $120,000
$180,001 and over $51,667 plus 45 cents for each $1 over $180,000

Residents of the country have to pay taxes on income sourced from as well as outside Australia. Non-residential citizens, on the other hand, only pay taxes on the sum earned through Australian sources.

For foreign citizens, the income tax breakdown is as follows:

  • Individuals earning within 0–AU$120,000 have to pay 32.5 cents for every AU$1
  • A person earning between AU$120,001-AU$180,000 will pay AU$39,000 plus 37 cents for each AU$1 over AU$120,000.
  • A person with income above AU$180,000 will have to pay AU$61,200 plus 45 cents for each AU$1 over AU$180,000.

Living Away from Home Allowance

Australia’s Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) is a little-known fact designed to meet the needs of an employee who must live away from his/her principal residence (local, national, international) to fulfil his/her employment responsibilities. It can result in a significant saving of $000’s for you per year.

This legislation applies to international employees who are in Australia on a working visa. Accountants interested in taking advantage of this benefit can ascertain their eligibility by contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Final Thoughts

Australia is a great place for digital nomads as well as individuals looking for exciting job opportunities. It has beautiful weather year-round and endless adventure activities to make your weekends memorable. And with its exceptional healthcare and education systems, it’s an ideal place for families with children.

And although Australia can be a bit expensive, by making smart choices and proper budgeting, you can make this outstanding country your home!