Living Wage Series - Australia - September 2019 - In Australian Dollar, per Month

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 70 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 AUD)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food expenses 1020-1340 1080-1410 270-350
Housing expenses 775-1460 775-1460 510-915
Transport expenses 260-320 260-320 130-160
Healthcare expenses 155-435 155-435 39-110
Education expenses 155-525 155-525 0
Other expenses 120-205 120-205 47-77
Total Expenditure 2485-4285 2545-4355 996-1611
Net Living Wage 1462-2521 1414-2419 996-1611
Gross Living Wage 1730-2980 1670-2860 1180-1900

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in AUD)

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.

Typical family (two parents + 1.8 children, 1.7 working) 1730-2980
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 1670-2860
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1500-2570
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 2000-3430
Two parents and two children, 1 working 3010-5140
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 1970-3280
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 2160-3540
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1180-1900

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in AUD)

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.

  2016 2017 2018 2019
Minimum wage 2847 2915 3012 3117
Living Wage - Single Adult 1260-1960 1230-1910 1140-1840 1180-1900
Living Wage - Typical Family 1900-3120 1870-3080 1690-2910 1730-2980
Real wage of low-skilled worker 2750-3160 2800-3230 3000-3450 3090-3540
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 3090-3690 3390-4060 3340-3980 3580-4280
Real wage of high-skilled worker 4260-5510 4180-5440 4690-6050 5030-6490

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 AUD

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 item Grams per day Energy (kcal) Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 231 702 -
Rice 25 84 2-3
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 399 587 9.5-12
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 38 332 2.5-5
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 66 244 1-2
Maize and products 9 28 -
Milk - Excluding Butter 754 398 1-1.3
Vegetables, Other 144 43 2-2.3
Potatoes and products 124 72 2-3
Butter, Ghee 13 90 10-15
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 20 50 -
Pulses, Other and products 2 6 -
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 27 38 40-45
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 32 -
Fish products 48 28 20-25
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 162 58 8-10
Sweeteners, Other 29 14 -
Beans 0 0 4-7
Sweet potatoes 4 2 -
Bananas 34 21 2.5-3
Soyabeans 0 1 -
Apples and products 52 15 3-4
Tomatoes and products 95 18 3.5-5
Onions 19 6 2-2.5
Oranges, Mandarines 36 10 3-3.5
Peas 1 3 -
Seeds and kernels 0 1 -
Wine (bottle) 35 24 13-20
Pineapples and products 9 5 -
Cream 1 2 7-9
Olives (including preserved) 5 5 10-16
Honey 1 3 6-10
Citrus, Other 0 0 4-5
Lemons, Limes and products 3 1 5-8
Tea (including mate) 1 1 -
Grapefruit and products 1 0 14-14
Coffee and products 9 3 10-13


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.

WageIndicator useful links:

Publication Guzi, M., & Kahanec, M. (2019). Estimating Living Wage Globally. Amsterdam, WageIndicator Foundation
WageIndicator Wages in Context Map with the latest updates
All You Always wanted to Know about Living Wages