As with most countries, your cost of living in Australia will largely depend on how and where you choose to live. Sydney and Melbourne are among the top 50 most expensive cities in the world - according to the 2010 Mercer Cost of Living survey - but many expats say that the average salary is more than able to cope with all the monthly outgoings.
Graduates should expect to start on annual packages of around $36,000 (Australian dollars) but managing directors can earn anything from $350,000 to $600,000. Salaries
can vary slightly from city to city. For example, managing directors in Melbourne will earn between $200,000 and $400,000 and it may be even less than this in Perth.
Generally speaking, the cost of food is reasonable, and is very similar to food prices in the US. Petrol is fairly inexpensive; especially when compared to places like the UK. Eating out at a restaurant will set you back about $55 for a three-course meal, a cup of coffee in a café is about $4 and an average monthly utility bill is unlikely to exceed $60.
(1.5 Australian dollars is roughly equivalent to 1 British pound and 1.5 US dollars)
Some expats complain about the Australian income tax rates, which range from 17% to 47%. However, as an expat, there are various ‘tax breaks' that may be available to you that are designed to ease the extra costs you incur as an employee in a foreign country. However, many of these are dependent on whether you're going to be working in Australia as a temporary or permanent resident. Understanding what tax rules apply to you can make a big difference to your disposable income.
The cost of renting a home in Australia is pretty
reasonable in relation to average monthly earnings. Shared housing is also a popular option, especially for single expats and those who want to save more money. Average monthly prices (in Australian dollars) are as follows:
Furnished 2 bedroom house 1,100
Unfurnished 2 bedroom house 1,080
Furnished 2 bedroom apartment 1,250
Unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment 950
Room in shared house 490
When you come to sign your rental contract and pay your first month’s rent, you'll probably also have to pay a security deposit or bond,
which usually amounts to about six weeks rent.
Bear in mind that you’re going to be relying heavily on some sort of air conditioning in the hotter summer months, which may push up
the price of your utility bills. However, the fact that you’re highly unlikely to ever need the central heating goes some way to compensate!
If you’re looking to buy a property then you’re in luck! House prices in Australia – especially for those who've negotiated themselves a generous salary package – are affordable. But, the property market can move fast and it’s also a somewhat complicated process for foreign
The Australian government subsidises medical expenses through a system called Medicare, which offers free emergency hospital care and also helps with the costs of seeing a doctor and paying for treatments. In most cases, you’ll have to pay for the treatment at the time but then receive a refund for some of the cost. Don’t get too excited though! Many expats aren’t eligible for this scheme and will, subsequently, have to pay for any medical help they need.
Some countries have what’s known as a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia and expats from these places will have limited Medicare cover. This currently includes New Zealand, the United Kingdom,
Ireland, Italy, Malta, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium.
If you’re unlucky enough not to be covered by Medicare, emergency medical treatment can be very costly. For instance, an emergency appendix removal can cost up to $30,000 (£19,473 or €22,302).
Many Australians choose to get private health insurance to cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t stretch to and, even if you’re privately insured, you can still choose to be treated as a public patient whenever you wish.