Cost of living in Australia

Whether it’s the beach you’re after, the barbecues or the party lifestyle, Australia’s got it all. Before you get carried away stocking up on your suntan lotion and swimsuit, have you considered what your new lifestyle will cost you? It’s a good idea to have an indication of how much it costs to live in Australia – and what you could potentially be earning. Then you can work out how much of your salary goes on the essentials and what’s left over for the fun stuff.

Let’s start at the beginning.

All of the below is quoted in Australian dollars. For up to date currency exchange, click here.

What you can expect to get paid

Have a look at the salary ranges across Australian industries and see what sort of salary you can expect. Get a head start on your financial budgeting:

Classification Minimum Mid-range Maximum
Mining, resources and energy $118,454 $134,009 $149,564
Engineering $98,598 $111,620 $124,641
Consulting and strategy $96,240 $109,023 $121,806
Construction $96,419 $109,013 $121,607
Information and communication technology $86,158 $97,663 $109,168
Legal $82,475 $96,444 $110,413
Human resources and recruitment $76,101 $85,701 $95,302
Healthcare and medical $76,150 $84,953 $93,756
Marketing and communications $74,983 $84,052 $93,121
Science and technology $73,888 $84,014 $94,140
Accounting $74,112 $83,464 $92,815
Government and defence $73,675 $81,806 $89,937
Banking and financial services $71,891 $81,714 $91,537
Sales $71,445 $80,852 $90,259
Insurance and superannuation $67,558 $77,000 $86,442
Manufacturing, transport and logistics $67,020 $74,890 $82,760
Advertising, arts and media $65,527 $73,745 $81,963
Design and architecture $62,748 $71,003 $79,259
Education and training $60,842 $68,269 $75,696
Farming, animals and conservation $59,955 $67,420 $74,885
Real estate and property $57,769 $65,868 $73,967
Community services and development $57,930 $63,856 $69,783
Sport and recreation $56,869 $63,567 $70,266
Trades and services $56,339 $63,562 $70,785
Retail and consumer products $50,782 $57,179 $63,576
Hospitality and tourism $50,377 $56,063 $61,748
Call centre and customer service $48,000 $53,584 $59,169
Administration and office support $46,567 $51,939 $57,311

The big stuff: housing

  • Rental prices vary massively across the country. Average weekly rentals for houses as of January 2012 are: Darwin $550; Sydney $500; Canberra $500; Perth $400; Brisbane $380; Melbourne $360; Adelaide $340; Hobart $320
  • If you’re happy to rent an unit, it can be a bit cheaper as these average weekly rental prices from January 2012 show: Darwin $460; Sydney $460; Canberra $440; Brisbane $365; Melbourne $350; Perth $350; Adelaide $280; Hobart $258
  • If you’re considering buying, the average house price in Australia is $470,000 (averaged over the eight capital cities, as of June 2012)
  • Broken down here are the average house prices:  Sydney $555,000; Canberra $495,000; Melbourne $490,000; Darwin $472,000; Perth $460,000; Brisbane $415,000; Adelaide $370,000; Hobart $350,000

The big stuff: healthcare

  • If you have Australian citizenship, a permanent resident visa, have applied for certain permanent resident visas and hold a valid visa with permission to work in Australia or a valid visa with a parent, spouse or child who is an Australian citizen or holds permanent resident status then you’re eligible for Medicare.
  • Medicare offers free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital and free or subsidised treatment by doctors in a general practice.
  • Example costs: Doctor (GP) – standard consultation cost: AUS$67.00, Medicare paid: AUS$34.90, out-of-pocket payment: AUS$32.10
  • Doctor (specialist) – consultation cost: AUS$155.00, Medicare paid: AUS$69.00, out-of-pocket payment: AUS$86.00
  • Dentist – six-monthly examination and clean cost: AUS$135.00, health fund* paid: AUS$135.00, out-of-pocket payment: nil
  • Dentist – quick examination and one restoration (filling) cost: AUS$175.00, health fund* paid AUS$97.80, out-of-pocket payment: AUS$81.20

*A health fund is not Medicare – it’s private health insurance. Medicare doesn’t cover dental treatment.

The other stuff: transport and food

Transport average costs:

  • One-way ticket (local transport): AUS$4.00
  • Monthly transport pass (without a student or other discount): AUS$113.00 
  • Petrol (one litre): AUS$1.47

Food average costs:

  • Milk (regular – one litre): AUS$1.50
  • Loaf of fresh white bread (500g): AUS$3.00
  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: AUS$17.00 
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: AUS$80.00
  • A combo meal at McDonalds or similar: AUS$8.00
  • A cappuccino (regular): AUS$4.00

All stats current as of April 2013.