Living Wage Series - Australia October 2017 - 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 for 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 1060 1440 1090 1480 270 370
Housing 1220 2200 1220 2200 810 1400
Transport 240 270 240 270 120 135
Health 50 200 50 200 13 50
Education 100 300 100 300 0 0
Other costs 135 220 135 220 61 97
Total Expenditure 2805 4630 2835 4670 1274 2052
Net Living Wage 1753 2894 1575 2594 1274 2052
Gross Living Wage 2070 3420 1860 3060 1510 2420

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) 2070 3420
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1860 3060
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1680 2760
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 2230 3680
Two parents and two children, 1 working 3350 5510
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 2300 3730
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 2510 4020
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1510 2420

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.

  2014 . 2015 . 2016 . 2017 .
  from to from to from to from to
Minimum wage 2588 2588 2699 2699 2847 2847 2915 2915
Living Wage - Single Adult 1460 2420 1530 2440 1510 2430 1510 2420
Living Wage - Typical Family 2090 3420 2160 3460 2120 3440 2070 3420
Real wage of low-skilled worker 2300 2670 . . . . 2100 2450
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 3270 3980 . . . . 3200 3990
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4810 6260 . . . . 4550 6110

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 fromto
Wheat, barley and cereals 130 396 4 5
Rice 20 67 2.2 3.5
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 225 331 9 12.5
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 38 331 . .
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 66 244 3.5 3.5
Maize and products 9 28 4 4
Milk - Excluding Butter 425 224 1 1
Vegetables, Other 114 34 4 4.6
Potatoes and products 99 57 1 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) 15 21 3.1 4.2
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 32 . .
Fish products 48 28 20 28
Beer 162 58 10 12.1
Sweeteners, Other 17 8 2.3 2.5
Beans 0 0 4.5 7
Sweet potatoes 3 2 4 4
Bananas 27 17 3 3.8
Soyabeans 0 1 7 7
Apples and products 41 12 4 4
Tomatoes and products 53 10 3 4
Onions 19 6 2 2
Oranges, Mandarines 28 8 3.5 4
Plantains 0 0 6 15
Peas 1 3 3 3
Roots, Other 0 0 6 11
Seeds and kernels 0 1 10 12
Wine 35 24 18.7 20
Cream 1 1 6 8
Olives (including preserved) 5 5 12 12
Honey 1 3 6 10
Citrus, Other 0 0 4 5
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 5 7
Tea (including mate) 1 1 10 10
Grapefruit and products 1 0 14 14
Coffee and products 9 3 12 16

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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