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 2021, Australia secured the 11th position in the list of happiest countries in the world! It has a great healthcare facility that is reflected in the country’s high life expectancy, which is 83 years.
And with more than 7.6 million migrants living in Australia, the country has a very diverse population that is ever-evolving.
How Much Does It Cost To Live in Australia?
Australia has the 13th highest cost of living in the world, ahead of other major countries like the US, the UK, Japan, France, Canada, and Italy. So, living in Australia is costlier than living in around 84% of the countries in the world.
A family of four will be shelling out approximately 3,692.9$ (AU$5,536.1) per month, while a single person can expect to spend around 1,047.9$ (AU$1,571.0), both without rent.
However, the actual cost will depend on where you live and your overall lifestyle. For example, renting in big cities will cost you more than living outside the city centre. The food is also quite expensive in Australia. So, sticking to home-cooked food and keeping your outings to a minimum will help bring down your monthly expenses.
Other factors like how adventure-loving you are, how much you spend on clothing, if you have a school-going child, etc., will also determine your exact cost of living.
We have also created dedicated pages comparing the cost of living between the most important cities in Australia:
Housing Cost In Australia
Housing prices in Australia fall within a wide range. And the location is everything.
So, if you choose to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre, it will cost you AU$2,254 monthly, while one outside the city centre will be cheaper at approximately AU$1,757 per month.
If you choose major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, your rent will be higher than average. On the other hand, cities like Darwin and Hobart have lower median house prices. It’s important to note that places with higher rent are also a hub for job opportunities.
As you can expect, buying an apartment in the city centre is also costlier than outside the city centre. An apartment in the centre costs around AU$10,801.82 per square meter, while the cost is nearly AU$8,036.10 outside the city centre.
Cost Of Utilities In Australia
Utility costs are quite high in Australia. On average, the cost of basic utilities in an 85m2 apartment costs around AU$293.11.
This amount only includes essential utilities, like water, electricity, and heating, and can change depending on individual needs. Naturally, the costs go higher with more residents.
Here are some common utilities and how much they cost per month to help you calculate your total:
- Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) – AU$293.11
- 1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) – AU$0.72 A
- Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – AU$84.27 A
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$2.
If you don’t want to travel by public transport or own a car, you can take a taxi to commute from one place to another. The starting cost for a taxi journey is AU$ 4.65.
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 is quite expensive in Australia, and grocery prices are almost the same throughout the country. So, whether you live in a big city or a suburban area, you will still be paying high grocery bills.
The only thing that can make some difference is the size of your family. A single person can expect to spend around $410 per month, while two-person and four-person families may spend approximately $584 and $724, respectively, per month.
Budgeting your grocery expenses and minimizing overspending is thus very important. Here are a few basic commodities and their prices in Australia.
|A loaf of white bread||AU$3.29|
|1 litre of milk||AU$2.20|
|One dozen eggs||AU$5.53|
|1 kg rice||AU$3.11|
|1 kg beef round||AU$21.74|
|1 kg chicken filets||AU$12.26|
|1 kg local cheese||AU$13.49|
|1 kg Tomato||AU$7.17|
|1 kg Apple||AU$4.77|
|1 kg Banana||AU$3.79|
Also, if you love eating out, Australia will burn a hole through your pocket quickly. The restaurants here are relatively expensive, with a 3-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant easily costing AU$110.00.
If you want to avoid overspending, you will have to reduce the number of times you eat outside and have fresh homemade food instead.
However, one thing that you must definitely indulge in is coffee. Australians boast about their coffee; considering how good it is, anyone would. A regular cappuccino costs around AU$ 5.08, but it’s 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.
You also have the option to choose private health insurance like many Australian citizens. Health insurance also covers other healthcare facilities not included under Medicare. So, seeking private insurance for specialist care, dental facilities, glasses and contact lenses, physiotherapy, and speech therapy proves quite helpful.
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 $6,572 annually. The cost can vary depending on the number of hours of childcare accessed, the type of options selected, and the location. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne tend to be more expensive for childcare than cities like Adelaide or Hobart.
Long-day care, which extends for up to 10 hours a day, typically costs anywhere between $70 to $190 per day. Preschools can cost between $45 and $80 per day. Family daycare, provided by an educator in their home, can cost parents anywhere between $7 and $17 per hour. Outside school hours care fees can cost $15 to $30 per session for morning or before-school care and between $25 and $45 for after-school sessions.
Government subsidies and programs are also available to help reduce childcare’s cost burden, provided the eligibility criteria are met. The Childcare Subsidy (CCS) program is designed to help eligible families based on the combined family income. The subsidies given under the program can range from 0 to 90% depending on the combined family income.
For more detailed information, you can visit our page on Childcare Costs for Expats in Australia.
Australia Income Tax
Like many other countries, Australia, too, follows a progressive tax system. This means that the more you earn, the higher in taxes you pay. It has a minimum threshold of AU$ 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)
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!
Read more Tips for Australian Immigration: