The proportion of household budgets taken by transport costs has been thrown under the spotlight by a study suggesting over a sixth of average incomes can be taken to get around in Australia.
The study for the Australian Automobile Association suggests that an average family in the country spends $22,000 travelling, taking into account tax, tolls, public transport and finance costs. Michael Bradley, the association's chief executive, said of the report, covered by the Sydney Morning Herald, that "Australians... might be surprised to know just how expensive transport is."
The work, by SGS Economics & Planning, provides a 'Transport Affordability Index,' which it hopes will influence policy at state and federal levels. The study provides figures for a hypothetical household in each capital city consisting of a couple with children and two cars, and assumes that one member of the family drives to work while the other catches public transport.
The results indicate a Sydney household has weekly transport costs of $419 per week, 17% of median incomes, and Brisbane and Melbourne $376 and $348 respectively, while in higher-income, lower-density cities of Perth and Canberra, weekly costs are $301 and $300 per week respectively. The biggest cost was car loan payments followed by fuel and public transport third. Only in Brisbane was public transport costlier than fuel.
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