Move to Australia in 2024
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Move to Australia in 2024

Inspiration
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9.28.21
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Joseph Darby

Should you move to Australia?

Better weather, more pay, and probably a lower cost of living. The benefits of moving to Australia are becoming harder to ignore.

Here at Become Wealth, we’re proud to be a New Zealand owned and operated business, though we see nothing wrong with people considering what could be a great move, even if it’s just for a while.

New Zealand has a lot of great things going for it, though at present, more people are leaving New Zealand than are entering, and we expect when formal data is collated, the figures will show a lot of these will be headed to Australia. Over the years we’ve seen Russell Crowe, Lorde, the Finn Brothers, Keith Urban, and even the humble pavlova all be claimed as Australian.

Let’s explore why so many of us are heading across the ditch, and whether you should make the move too.

Why Move to Australia?

The Lucky Country

Australia has been called the lucky country, and while reasons for this are varied, one is surely the abundant supply of natural resources spread across the country in areas where extracting them won’t ruffle too many feathers. Australia has the world’s largest known supply of several different minerals, including uranium, nickel, and zinc, and is also one of the top five extractors worldwide of gold, diamonds and several other precious metals.

This is one of the reasons the Australian economy has been able to keep growing through downturns which have had bigger impacts elsewhere in the world, such as the Global Financial Crisis.

This flows through to a range of practical benefits:

• Higher wages

• A wider variety of career opportunities

• More tax revenue to fund infrastructure, public transport, and social services

The Numbers Don’t Lie

New Zealand has plenty of untapped potential, though the numbers don’t lie – we’re being outpaced by Australia in a range of social and economic measures:

Average income of US$56,760 for Australians and US$45,340 for New Zealanders *

Health. Life expectancy, Australians live between seven months to a year longer than Kiwis

• Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, measured in United States Dollars, is $59,934 for Australia versus $48,802 for New Zealand

Education. Australia’s education system is reportedly ranked eighth worldwide, New Zealand is still respectable at eleventh place

* That’s a huge 25 percent difference in earnings!

Lower Cost of Living

At face value, Australia might seem more expensive than New Zealand, though it’s usually accepted that higher Australian wages, and lower taxes, offsets the higher prices of many items in Australia. Overall, this leads to a lower cost of living.  

Even so, some of the ‘big ticket’ items are less costly across the ditch: consider an average litre of petrol is currently reported as NZ$2.68 in New Zealand, but only AU$1.69 in Australia. While there’s currency exchange to factor-in – one Australian Dollar buys about $1.06 New Zealand dollars – that’s still a significant difference.

Like for Like Comparisons

When weighing up options, it’s crucial to make like-for-like comparisons.

The cost of housing in some places, such as Sydney (which has more people than our whole country!) might seem expensive if compared with the average New Zealand town. But, if you compare a city like Brisbane, with two million or more occupants, with a city such as Auckland, then even the cost of housing starts looking a whole lot more affordable: an average (median) house price of NZ$1,090,000 in Auckland, versus AU$817,684 for Brisbane.

The Beaches Are Calling

At risk of stating the obvious, Australia is warmer than New Zealand, with a summer average of 30 degrees Celsius.

Ease

Moving to and working in Australia is easy (provided you have no criminal convictions or serious pre-existing health conditions, such as tuberculosis).

If you move to Australia on a New Zealand passport and you didn’t apply for a visa first, in nearly all cases you’ll automatically be given a Special Category Visa (SCV). This allows Kiwis to live and work in Australia if we like.

Buying a home, getting a driver’s licence, finding a job, and even taking New Zealand pets is usually straightforward.

Connected

For those among us longing for travel and maybe a little culture after years of on-and-off lockdowns, Australia is more culturally diverse, global, and connected than New Zealand. The airports are larger and have more direct flights, at less cost and travel time, to more locations worldwide.

Superannuation and Other Benefits

When compared with KiwiSaver, AustralianSuper (the Australian equivalent) is superior in most regards. Australian employers must contribute more into it, and it is more favourable tax-wise. This means retirement savings accumulate faster in Australia. How much faster? The average balance of AustralianSuper, per individual member, is about AU$195,000 compared with an average KiwiSaver balance of around NZ$30,000. Though admittedly, that is an unfair comparison as AustralianSuper began in 1992 so has had more time to accumulate, whereas KiwiSaver started in 2007.

In fact, the advantages of AustralianSuper, higher wages, and longer time in the market are so marked, about 11,000 Australians have amassed more than $5 million in their superannuation accounts!

Incentive Programs

A variety of incentive programs help encourage workers of nearly all varieties to service Australian outback communities and rural locations.

For example Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) is a federal (Australian Government) level program which provides financial incentives to encourage doctors to work in these areas and support medical practices to employ nurses and eligible allied health professionals. Other programs occur at state level, such as the New South Wales range of benefits and incentives for teachers and executives to serve rural and remote New South Wales public schools.

Even if there’s no government incentive scheme, employers in mining towns and camps offer great wages to lure good staff.

A common approach for many is to work in an isolated area for a couple of years to build a house deposit or other nest egg before returning to settle in a major centre.  

The Drawbacks of Moving to Australia

Despite the advantages, it’s not all good news. Let’s explore the downsides of a potential move.

“Throw another shrimp on the barbie, Cobba”

Does singing Waltzing Matilda appeal?

What about supporting the Wallabies?

Australian culture might not suit all of us. You’ll even have to learn a host of new words:

• Chilly bins are “eskies”

• Duvets are called “doonas”

• A fool might be a “flaming gallah”

• Even a glass of beer is called names like a “middy” or a “schooner”

Safety Net

Despite the ease of moving to and working in Australia, it is still a different country and New Zealanders do not necessarily have the same rights and privileges as Australian citizens or permanent residents. Kiwis typically do not receive student loans, parenting payments and youth allowance.

In addition, New Zealanders are usually not able to get Australian social security payments if they run into financial hardship, even if they’ve paid plenty of tax in Australia.

New Zealander’s visas (and thus the visa-holders ability to live in Australia) can be cancelled if Australian authorities assess that they do not meet the relevant character requirements.

That said, there have been great developments in this area, and Australia has improved residency and citizenship prospects for New Zealanders. So on the whole this area may now not present the barrier it once did.

Snakes, Spiders, Crocodiles, Jellyfish

Sure, Australia might not have earthquakes, but between the Box jellyfish, the Taipan snake, Funnel Web spider – let alone the sharks and Stonefish – it seems everything in Australia wants to kill you!

In Reality

While Australia does have a lot of lethal nasties, the reality is that bites and deaths are rare. In other words, despite very toxic venoms or reputations, these creatures don’t attack enough people to cause major problems.

Connected, or Isolated?

Despite Australia’s more convenient global location, and better links with the rest of the world, isolation may be the feeling for anyone who becomes a fly-in fly-out worker, and for those who move to the outback or remote areas.

Family

If you’ve got close family members who are tied to New Zealand, perhaps elderly parents or teenagers in school, then a move to Australia might not be for you.

Qualifications

Most people will find better career progression options in the larger and more diverse economy of Australia, however:

• In some cases, professional or trade qualifications might not transfer between New Zealand and Australia. This might prevent Kiwi’s working in Australia in their chosen field unless Australian qualifications are earned. This can take significant time, effort, and cost

• Alternatively, with some career paths, qualifications are transferable though there may be some sort of approval or authorisation required by an industry body. This might take months, and needs to be considered carefully before a move is made

Lifestyle Creep

Lifestyle creep occurs when your standard of living improves, steadily becoming more expensive, as your income rises – which usually occurs as your career progresses.

This might happen if you move to Australia and earn a lot more! Especially if you’re a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) worker in an isolated area, it can be tempting to blow all that extra cash during the downtimes when you’re not on the job!

The Bottom Line: Move to Australia

Depending on your phase of life and what you want to achieve, living overseas, even if for just a few years, might be a great option for you:

• Heading offshore can be a way for young Kiwis to accumulate a chunky deposit for a house in New Zealand or elsewhere, and have a bunch of different experiences along the way

• It might be a way to advance a career, forge a new one, or help build a nest egg for an earlier retirement

Whatever you choose to do, just remember there’s no right and wrong - unless you start singing Waltzing Matilda!

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