Living Wage Series - Australia - January 2018 - In Australian Dollar, per Month

Living wages, Wages in context - Australia

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage in more than 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Australian Dollar)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 1050-1470 1080-1500 270-375
Housing 805-1900 805-1900 535-1200
Transport 235-290 235-290 120-145
Health 50-200 50-200 13-50
Education 100-300 100-300 0
Other costs 110-210 115-210 47-88
Total Expenditure 2350-4370 2385-4400 985-1858
Net Living Wage 1469-2731 1325-2444 985-1858
Gross Living Wage 1740-3230 1570-2890 1160-2190

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Australian Dollar)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

  from-to
Typical family (two parents + 1.9 children, 1.6 working) 1740-3230
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1570-2890
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1410-2600
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 1880-3460
Two parents and two children, 1 working 2820-5190
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 1970-3540
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 2180-3830
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1160-2190

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Australian Dollar)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage 2699 2847 2915 3012
Living Wage - Single Adult 1150-2180 1210-2190 1200-2200 1160-2190
Living Wage - Typical Family 1800-3210 1870-3220 1840-3230 1740-3230
Real wage of low-skilled worker 2290-2670 .-. .-. 2260-2710
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 3270-3980 .-. .-. 3190-3970
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4800-6260 .-. .-. 4590-6120

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.


Food basket and food prices in Australian Dollar

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food itemGrams per dayEnergy (kcal)Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 141 428 4-5
Rice 22 72 2.2-3
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 243 358 9-13
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 41 358 .-.
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 71 264 .-.
Maize and products 10 30 .-.
Milk - Excluding Butter 459 242 1-1.5
Vegetables, Other 124 37 2.1-4.6
Potatoes and products 107 61 2.5-3
Butter, Ghee 13 90 6-8
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 50 11-11
Pulses, Other and products 1 5 4.5-4.5
Cassava and products 0 0 6-14
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 17 23 3.3-4.2
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 34 .-.
Fish products 52 30 20-26
Beer 175 63 .-.
Sweeteners, Other 17 8 2.3-2.5
Beans 0 0 4.5-7
Sweet potatoes 3 2 4-4.4
Bananas 29 18 2.5-3
Soyabeans 0 1 7-7
Apples and products 45 13 4-4.2
Tomatoes and products 58 11 4-5
Onions 20 6 2-2
Oranges, Mandarines 31 9 2-3.8
Peas 1 3 3-3
Seeds and kernels 0 1 10-12
Wine 38 26 .-.
Cream 1 1 6-9.5
Olives (including preserved) 6 6 .-.
Honey 1 3 6-10
Citrus, Other 0 0 4-5
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 .-.
Tea (including mate) 1 1 .-.
Grapefruit and products 1 0 14-14
Coffee and products 9 4 10-15


WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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