Money and Budgeting - Choose Brisbane


Money and Budgeting

Fruit and Vegetable markets in Brisbane

Queensland has one of the lowest costs of living in comparison with the other Australian states.

Australian Education International estimates than an international student in Australia will spend about $380 a week on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transport and telephone. This figure is only an estimate though, and will change depending on your location, lifestyle and even your course.


Being able to access your money is one of the most important things you’ll need to do when you arrive in a new country.

You can open a bank account before you leave home with any of the major banks, and this will allow you to withdraw funds as soon as you arrive in Australia, using your passport as identification. Once funds have been transferred into Australia, you will only be able to access them once you've arrived here.

If you’ve been in Australia for less than six weeks, you’ll only need your passport as proof of identification to set up a new account. You can set up accounts after six weeks from arrival if you can meet additional identification requirements. Some of Australia’s major banks include:

  • ANZ
  • Bank of Queensland
  • Citibank
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • HSBC
  • ING Direct
  • Macquarie
  • National Australia Bank
  • St George
  • Suncorp Metway
  • Westpac

How Much Money to Bring

You need to make sure you have enough funds to support you when you first arrive. It is recommended that you have approximately $1500 to $2000 available for the first three weeks to pay for temporary accommodation and transport.

Indicative Costs

Cost of living in Brisbane varies according to your lifestyle. A general guide to cost of living per week can be found below.

Type Approximate Cost Of Living Per Week 

 Accommodation  $100 - $225
 Meals  $50 - $100
 Transport  $5 - $15
 Phone  $10 - $75
 Internet  $15 - $20

Australian Money

Australian bank notes are made from a plastic polymer recognised by its colourful appearance. These notes provide much greater security against counterfeiting and last much longer than conventional paper notes. The notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations, and the coins used are silver 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent, and gold $1 and $2.

GST and Tax Refunds

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Australia is a Value Added Tax of 10% on the supply of most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia.

Some short-term travellers may be eligible through the Tourist Refund Scheme to claim a refund, subject to certain conditions, of the Goods and Services Tax and Wine Equalisation Tax that you pay on goods you buy in Australia. For more information, visit the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website.