Wages in Australia are often seen as quite high when compared to many other nations. The economy saw little of the strains of the rest of the world during the financial crash due to a strong mining boom for the country's valuable natural resources. Whilst this is slowly coming to an end it is fair to say that the country is still in a very strong position economically.

The unit of currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). As of March 2016 some exchange rates are as follows:

  • 1 AUD = 0.51 GBP
  • 1 AUD = 0.71 USD
  • 1 AUD = 0.65 EUR
  • 1 AUD = 4.67 CNY
  • 1 AUD = 5.53 HKD

If you are moving to Australia and planning to transfer assets then there are a couple of ways that you can do this. The most simple methods is by electronic funds transfer from your current bank to an Australian bank. However, there can be high fees and exchange costs when using this method. 

Another route can be to use the services of a foreign exchange company who will usually be able to secure a better exchange rate. However when using this route make sure you do your research and choose a reputable company, as the cheapest is not always the most secure. 

You can also bring cash to Australia however any amount over the equivalent of 10,000 AUD will need to be declared at customs when entering the country.

Opening a bank account

There are many different banks to choose from in Australia however the four most well known are:

  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Westpac
  • ANZ
  • National Australia Bank

In order to open a bank account you will need two forms of identification such as a passport or driving licence (if applying within 6 weeks of arrival you can just use your passport); proof of address in Australia, such as a utility bill; and in some instances a reference from your current bank. The larger banks may also allow you to open your account before arriving in the country.

In Australia cash withdrawals from ATMs are only free from your own bank's machines.


Before earning money in Australia you must apply for a tax file number from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). This means that we will then be eligible for paying tax on any income and capital gains in Australia. 

It is also important to note that Australian residents also pay tax on any income, including salary and dividends, which is paid in another location anywhere in the world.

As is the case in most countries, Australian tax residents are taxed according to how much they earn, on a tiered basis. Tax rates for foreign residents for the 2015 - 2016 year are as follows (to see the rates for Australian residents check the ATO website):

Taxable income Tax on this income
0 – $80,000 32.5c for each $1
$80,001 – $180,000 $26,000 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000
$180,001 and over $63,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

The Australian Financial Year Runs from 1 July to 30 June and you may be eligible for a tax refund at the end of the year. Many residents use authorised tax agents for this process.

Useful Links

The Australian Taxation Office

ATO Tax Calculator

Commonwealth Bank of Australia



National Australia Bank