5 Facts About – Sydney
Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia, with over 4.6 million residents, and according to a 2006 census, over 3.6 million of these residents live within Sydney’s Urban Centre.
Sydney is incredibly culturally diverse with many British, Chinese and other Asian and Malaysian residents living within the city. It is also the financial and economic hub of Australia, and it has the second highest earnings when measured using domestic purchasing power, among world cities.
As a cultural hub, Sydney has lots to offer its residents and tourists outside of work. There are numerous parks, waterways, and many famous attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour which helped to attract 10.5 million international and domestic visitors to the city by the end of 2012 – injecting an estimated $11.7 billion (AUD) into the state of New South Wales.
In this article we will look at 5 of the most important factors about expatriate life and work in Sydney that you must consider before accepting a new position there.
5 important factors about life & work in Sydney:
1. Expat Lifestyle
Sydney is a very welcoming city, one used to international residents, making it a great place for expats to relocate to – including those with children. It is a high-ranking world city for its quality of life, however, this is greatly affected by the high cost of living (discussed below).
A keen sporting city, Sydney is the perfect place for those that love sporting activities. It has hosted some major sporting events such as the 1938 British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games), the 2000 summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and sport is such an important part of the city’s culture, with the two most popular sports being Rugby League and cricket.
Sydney is a very laid-back city and the residents are, on the whole, very health conscious, with healthy eating and personal fitness being two common habits for many residents. The city offers warm summers and mild winters, with the warmest month being January and the coldest July. However, hotter locations within Australia, such as Hamilton Island (the Great Barrier Reef) and Brisbane (the Gold Coast) are within 2 hours 20 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes respectively.
As a top global city Sydney is ranked the seventeenth most eonomically important city in the world and the cities largest economic sectors, as measured by the number of people employed, are property and business services, retail, manufacturing, and health and community services.
The transportation systems in Sydney are very good with road transport and motor vehicles being the main forms of transport within the city. There are lots of freeways and toll roads (known as motorways) with bus services taking you everywhere within and around the city (and surrounding areas).
A 2006 census found that 85% of households own at least one automobile and there are over 2.1 million cars in the Metropolitan area.
Other forms of public transport include rail and water services, with trains, underground trains and passenger ferries.
3. Cost of Living
One of the biggest shocks for expats relocating to Sydney is the high cost of living. Whether you’re buying food, drinks, paying for a cinema ticket, buying clothes or renting a house, the cost is high and in recent years has fluctuated greatly on a month-by-month basis due to the changes in the financial climate.
In 2013 the Economist Intelligence Unit found that Sydney was the third most expensive city in the world. According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2012 an excellent quality 2 bedroom furnished apartment can cost as much as $4,164.52 (USD) per month and products such as cigarettes (20 pack) and a litre of milk can cost as much as $13.83 (USD) and $2.44 (USD) respectably.
Understanding the cost of living in Sydney before you move, and even before you accept a job, is very important as it can be such as shock that don’t plan. Many expats find that they have to change their spending habits so that they can afford the high cost of living in Sydney. It is also reported that, especially in the central urban areas, housing is especially expensive considering the limited living space, which is another factor to consider if you’re moving with a family and dependables.
4. Income Tax
Australian residents are taxed on worldwide income, whereas non-residents are taxed only on their income within the country. However, non-residents are only allowed to reside and work within the country for up to six months. Those that wish to stay longer (and are allowed to) are counted as a resident from the date that they start work.
Below are the general rates applicable to taxpaying residents for the tax year ending 30 June 2012, extracted from the Mercer Cost of Living Report 2012 (excluding Medicare):
Annual Taxable Income (AUD) | Tax Rate On Bracket
0 – 6000 0%
6,001 – 37,000 15%
37,001 – 50,000 30%
50,001 – 80,000 30.5%
80,001 – 100,000 37.5%
100,001 – 180,000 38%
180,001 and above 46%
The above rates include the Temporary Flood and Cyclone Reconstruction Levy (Flood Levy). The Flood Levy is applicable at a rate of 0.5% of taxable income between $50,000 (AUD) and $100,000 (AUD). For taxable income over $100,000 (AUD), the levy is increased to 1%. The Flood Levy is applicable for resident and non-resident taxpayers.
5. Health & Education
There is a mix of public and private systems within the health service in Sydney. There is a good quality of healthcare in Australia in general.
Australia is famous for its dangerous animals and it has more dangerous snakes than any other country in the world. However, Sydney is not so rife with deadly animals. Whilst you must still be vigilant and look out for spiders and snakes, be careful of the areas that you swim in the sea and so on, you don’t have to be so cautious as you might need to be in the outback.
Sydney is home to some of the most prominent educational institutions in Australia. There are public, denominational and independent schools including local and International schools. Another reason that Australia, and Sydney specifically is so popular for expatriates with young children is because not only is the education system very good but English is their first language, making it a great relocation option for English speaking expats.
5 fun facts about life in Sydney:
Here are 5 more fun and light-hearted facts about living in Sydney.
1. Around 20% of the population in Australia live in Sydney
2. Sydney residents are colloquially known as Sydneysiders
3. Sydney annually ranks in the top ten places to live in the world for quality of life
4. Australia is the only continent in the world occupied by 1 nation
5. According to the Mercer Cost of Living Report Sydney is the 21st most expensive places to live in the world
It is important to do your research on a location wherever in the world you move, especially with such an expensive location such as Sydney. Many expats that we have spoken to found that their lack of research and therefore lack of knowledge on the costs of living within this incredibly diverse city meant that their lifestyle habits had to be rapidly changed after relocating.
However, the majority of those that relocate to Sydney, and Australia in general find that their way of life is much improved and they find it hard to leave – many don’t if they have the option to stay.
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