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The Cost Of Living In Australia 2024

Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Australia in 2024 - wages, tax rates, housing, utilities, education and more.
By · January 16, 2024
The Cost Of Living In Australia 2024

Australia has long been considered a dream location to put down roots. Whether you’re looking to relocate your family, seek new career opportunities, or are ready for an outback adventure, there’s certainly a lot to offer in the land down under.

But, while Aussies are well known for their laid back, low-key lifestyle, the cost of living might be higher than you may realise.

From wages, to tax rates, housing, utilities, education and more, in this article we’re diving into everything you need to know about the cost of living in Australia in 2024.

What is the cost of living exactly?

Cost of living is determined using a number of different metrics including the price of essential products and services, general affordability, and how changes to these costs impact individuals and families from different parts of the country.

The Aussie government works out the cost of living via:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI): Measures the shift in value of goods and services.
  • Living Cost Indexes (LCIs): Measures the costs associated with maintaining a standard of living.
  • Wage Price Index (WPI): Measures the change of wages, incomes and labour costs across different industry sectors.

A note on cost of living metrics

While cost of living (COS) metrics are good indicators, the truth is, the results can vary greatly.

For this reason, COS should not be considered as a complete authority when it comes to the circumstances of an entire population.

With that said, exploring cost of living and some of the variations you can expect, can help you understand more clearly how you may be affected personally, and the things you can do to keep costs down.

The year that was - 2023 ‘Cossie livs’

It’s no secret that many Aussies grappled with financial challenges throughout 2023. Food prices surged, property sales hit record highs and many core utility providers upped their rates.

The pinch was felt so strongly, that in true blue style, a few new words became part of the everyday Aussie vernacular.

Terms like ‘Shrinkflation’ and ‘cossie livs’ emerged to describe how many Aussies were feeling - paying the same, or more, but getting less for essential items and services.

Key cost of living stats from 2023

  • Throughout 2023 all Living Cost Indexs rose by between 5.3% and 9%.
  • Employee households (where principal income is from wages or salaries) recorded the largest annual rise in living costs of all household types at 9%.
  • Insurance, financial services and transport were the main contributors to the quarterly rises.
  • Mortgage interest charges rose 68.6%.

So, what’s in store for 2024 and are there ways to keep costs down?

What is the average cost of living in Australia in 2024?

There is no exact figure for the cost of living in Australia. However, Expatistan estimates the current cost of living in Australia is roughly AU $4,312 per month for a single person or AU $7,786 per month for a family of four.

Based on these figures, the cost of living in Australia is ranked more expensive than in 87% of countries in the World (10 out of 68).

The cost of living in Australia is ranked more expensive than in 87% of countries in the world.

Cost of living vs. standard of living

While cost of living describes the cost associated with core essentials such as food, housing, health care, utilities and transport, standard of living refers more to the quality or comfort of your life.

How much do you need to live comfortably in Australia?

Living comfortably in Australia varies greatly depending on factors such as location, lifestyle and personal preferences. As a general guide, a single person living outside of a major city would need an annual income of $70 - $80k per annum or $5,800+ per month. Of course this total increases for couples and families.

Key facts

  • According to new research (January 2024), the average Aussie says it would take an annual income of $345,819 for them to feel rich.
  • The current average personal income in Australia is $72,753.
  • The median rent in Australia is $580 a week for houses and units.
  • The average quarterly electricity bill will set Australians back $317 while gas costs an average $181 every 3 months.
  • 26% of Aussies say energy bills are giving them financial stress.
  • Wages are growing at their fastest pace in 15 years, with lowest paid workers seeing a 6.7% wage growth.

What’s the average salary in Australia?

The median weekly earnings / salary for employees in Australia is $1,300 or $39.50 per hour.

This can be broken down further:

  • 25% of all employees earn less than $820 per week
  • 50% of all employees earned less than $1,300 per week
  • 75% of all employees earn less than $1,975 per week
  • 90% of all employees earn less than $2,820 per week

Average salary by State / Territory

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has the highest median weekly earnings at $1,550 per week while South Australia has the lowest at $1,200 per week. Australian Bureau Statistics

  • Australian Capital Territory: $1,550 per week
  • Northern Territory: $1,427 per week
  • New South Wales: $1,339 per week
  • Western Australia: $1,339 per week
  • Victoria: $1,280 per week
  • Tasmania: £1,210 per week
  • South Australia: $1,200 per week

Highest paying professions in Australia 2024

Career opportunities in Australia are diverse and can be highly financially rewarding. Some of the highest paying sectors include healthcare, finance, tech and mining and natural resources.

  1. Surgeon: $394,303
  2. Anaesthetist: $386,065
  3. Internal Medicine Specialist  $304,752
  4. Financial Dealers / Traders: $275,984
  5. Psychiatrist: $235,558
  6. Other Medical Practitioners: $222,933
  7. Judicial or Legal Professionals: $188,798
  8. Mining Engineer: $184,507
  9. Enterprise Architecture Manager: $168,762
  10. CEO or Managing Director: $164,896

Tax rates in Australia

The amount of tax you pay in Australia depends on how much you earn. Under the current rules, if you earn under $18,200 per year you won’t pay any tax.

However, if you have an income of $180,001 or more, you’ll pay $51,667 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000. Below is a table detailing the income brackets and associated tax.

Find out more information on tax costs in Australia here.

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

Education costs in Australia

Average annual secondary school tuition  

Primary and secondary school

Tuition fees cost parents anywhere between $158 per year for public primary school to $12,860 per year for independent secondary schools.

Again, costs vary between State and Territories.

ACT holds the title as most expensive state for private primary schools. The average school tuition cost here is $8,511 per student, per year.

New South Wales has the most expensive private secondary schools with an average annual tuition cost of $12,860. That's $3,500 more than the average cost in Victoria.

When it comes to government education, South Australia has the highest cost. Schools here ask for an average voluntary contribution of $440 per year for primary levels and $978 for secondary students.

ACT holds the title as most expensive state for private primary schools. The average school tuition cost here is $8,511 per student, per year.

University fees

Tuition fees and the cost of studying in Australia will vary depending on:

  • The education provider.
  • The level of study.
  • The study location in Australia.

Lists the average costs as follows:

Education Type Average Tuiton
English Language course  $300 per week
Vocational Education and Training $4,000 - $22,000 per year
Foundation course  $15,000 -$33,000 total
Bachelor Degree $15,000 - $33,000 per year
Master's Degree $14,000 -$37,000 per year
Doctoral Degree $14,000 -$37,000 per year
MBA $11,000 -$121,000 per year

Child Care

Child care can be expensive depending on where you live. The average daily cost for childcare across Australia is $130 but in some parts of the country parents pay up to $200 per day.

Average daily childcare cost by location

  • Brisbane city: $150.22
  • Sydney: $178.04
  • Cairns City: $121.03
  • Melbourne City: $162.28
  • Adelaide: 123.36
  • Darwin:$129.57
  • Perth: $157.18
  • Broome: $115
  • Townsville: $139.63
  • Mackay: $126.27
  • Canberra: $157.66
  • Hobart: $127.69

While there are subsidies available for Aussie families, these are means tested and so the eligible amount (if any at all) will vary greatly from family to family.

Use this childcare cost calculator to discover the average cost of childcare in your area.

Housing and property prices 2024

According to CoreLogic Data, homeowners are now required to set aside 46.2 percent of their income in order to service their mortgage repayments. This is one of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to cost of living - particularly if you are entering the property market for the first time.

Location Median Property Value
Sydney $1,128,322
Melbourne $780,457
Brisbane $787,217
Adelaide $711,604
Perth $660,754
Darwin $496,309
Combined capitals $832,193
Combined regionals $605,780
National $757,746

Cost of living by city

Sydney

Sydney is one of Australia’s more expensive cities to live in. With an average monthly salary of $5,809.68, basic utility costs of around $327.19 per month (for an 85m2 apartment), and rental costs of about $3,261.5 per month (on a 1 bedroom apartment) Sydney cost of living rates are significantly higher than other cities across Australia.

Brisbane

In Brisbane the monthly costs for a family of four is estimated to be around $6,251.50 without rent while the average monthly costs for a single person is estimated at $1,773.7.

Brisbane is noted to be 3.9% less expensive than Sydney overall and rental prices are more than 28% cheaper.

Brisbane residents pay an average 342.36 in utility bills each month(for an 85m2 apartment) and rental of a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is roughly $2,600 per month.

The average net salary in Brisbane is $4,957.61 per month.

Melbourne

In Melbourne the average cost of living for a family of four is $6,200 per month without rent or $1,746 per month for a single person without rent.

Melbourne is rated 2.7% less expensive than Sydney (without rent) and rent is an average 21.5% lower than in Sydney.

Brisbane residents pay an average $312.52 per month in utility bills for an 85m2 apartment and the cost of rent for a one bedroom CBD apartment is roughly $2,486.40 per month.

Adelaide

Overall Adelaide is considered to be about 7.4% more expensive than Sydney. Average monthly costs for a family of four are $6,933.7 without rent and $1,987.6 per month for a single person without rent.

Although, rent in Adelaide is on average 36.1% lower than in Sydney.

Basic utilities on an 85m2 apartment will set the average household back $460.92 per month and the average salary is $4,160.28.

Canberra

Canberra is 15% more expensive than Sydney (without rent) despite rent prices being on average, 23.2% lower.

A family of four can expect to pay up to $7,488.30 a month in expenses before considering rental or mortgage costs. estimated monthly costs are $7,488.30 without rent.

A single person's estimated monthly costs are $2,105.6 without rent.

Canberra is 15.0% more expensive to live in than Sydney despite rental prices being up to 23.2% lower.

Perth

Perth is estimated to be about 3% more expensive to live in than Sydney. Monthly expenses for a family of four are roughly $6,455.30 without rent or $1,836 for a single person.

Rent in Perth is, on average, 29.2% lower than in Sydney.

Cost of fashion and entertainment

Sports, fashion and entertainment costs aren’t generally associated with cost of living. They are, however, costs that most people indulge in on a semi-regular basis.

Here are some of the average costs you might expect when it comes to fashion and entertainment.

Sports, leisure activities & Shopping Average Cost
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $80.07
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) $26.11
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat $21.00
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar $125.34
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (H&M) $84.22
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) $177.82
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes $201.73

Moving to Australia

Wherever you’re planning to move to in Australia, it’s clear by now that the costs can certainly add up.

In saying that, one of the major draw cards of this country is the ability to take pleasure in the small things, and the things that cost little or nothing at all.

Beautiful beaches, national parks, sweeping hinterlands and a smorgasbord of free activities you can fill your new life with mean you can keep your spending and material possessions down to a minimum.

But, for those prized possessions you’re bringing with you when you do move, you’ll want to ensure you have removalists you can trust.

At Upmove, we help you find the best moving companies at the best price - so that’s one less cost you need to worry about.

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