Sydney cost of living double Brisbane and Adelaide report says

By Adam Coleman

A new report from the University of Queensland has compared the cost of living in Australia’s capital cities and found Adelaide and Brisbane cheaper to live in than Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

“This report will throw some perspective on the cost of living in the capital cities, comparing housing costs, salaries and other factors impacting on the finances of workers and their families,” said Queensland Employment and Industrial Relations Minister, John Mickel.

Commissioned by the Queensland Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and researched by Queensland University’s Dr Paul Henman, the report found that living in Sydney requires significantly more income than in both Brisbane and Adelaide to maintain a similar living standard.

“We looked at different household types at different income levels,” says Dr Henman. “What I needed to do was to find out what the expenditure would be in the different capital cities to achieve the same standard (of living).”

He says Sydneysiders on average need an income up over 55 per cent more than in Brisbane, “which is astonishingly high level, partly because you might need ten or $15,000 [more at a certain income level]. People at that income level are on an almost 50 per cent tax rate so they need almost double that amount.”

The obtain the same standard of living as in Adelaide, Sydneysiders require a staggering 62 per cent more income on average, according to the report.

Adelaide requires around five per cent to 10 per cent less income than in Brisbane, and this has remained fairly constant since 2003.

Melbourne households generally require a greater income than Brisbane households to achieve identical living standards averaging around four per cent to 10 per cent higher.

The report also suggests that Perth is now generally more expensive a place to live than Brisbane on the same salary, on average seven per cent higher.

“What the research does is use a budget standards approach. It starts with an assumption about what is a particular living standard and what are the particular goods and services people need to achieve that living standard,” says Dr Henman.

“Traditionally budget standards have been used for poverty measures but they are increasingly used for quite a range of different levels.

“Once you have the prices of goods and standards like a house, food items, clothing you can go and price them in the different cities. So you actually have the price of that same basket of goods and services in different capital cities.”

“So I used that as a basis at a range of different living standard points to…estimate costs at any particular income level whether people are purchasing their house or renting it,” he says. 

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