The Cost of Living in Australia – It’s Bananas!

In Mondays post, about three years in Australia, I wondered whether my views would change now that I have got through the honeymoon period.

As I write this, I’m fast approaching my fourth anniversary of life in Australia; will I start to see Oz in a different light?

Well, there is no doubt I am now noticing, on a much more regular basis, some things that are happening in this country that I would class as Australian Bad Things.

Previous Australian bad things have included….

brown snake

brown snake

cane toad

cane-toad

cockroach

cockroach

Darwin salt croc

Darwin salt croc

mosquito

mosquito

octopus

octopus

Redback spider

Redback spider

shark

shark

spider

And another spider

And more spiders

And more spiders

Taipan

Taipan

tick

tick

But bad things don’t have to be scary animals, other stuff can be bad too.

For example:

  • The looming threat of the carbon tax
  • Crime on the Gold Coast spiralling out of control
  • A current and disturbing outbreak of the Hendra virus
  • The report on the flooding in Queensland which blamed nobody
  • Politicians (pollies) – although, in fairness, this is universal
  • The soaring prices of our utilities
  • Being just three months away from another wet season, when we are still recovering from the floods and cyclones of the last
  • The overly frequent use of standing ovations in Australia’s Got Talent by Danni Minogue and Brian McFadden. This season of AGT has seen more ovations than the Royal Albert Hall! That can’t be right, can it?

On top of that, we are bombarded almost daily by the media with stories about how (apparently) Australia’s cost of living is out of control.

If all that is not bad enough, they haven’t even started to build the proposed pub, which I was told would be completed by April of this year, here in my sleepy Western suburb of Brisbane!

So, am I going to turn into a whingeing Pom?

Not in the slightest!

I can still recall with some clarity what it was like to live in England, so I look at life in Australia in comparison, not in isolation. And comparatively speaking, the UK, for me, had far more bad things that I’ve got here in Australia.

Don’t get me wrong, the UK is still a good place to live, it’s just that I think it has more bad things than Australia.

But it doesn’t stop me talking about Australia’s Bad Things, so the category I started back in February 2009 will continue, although it will expand beyond the snakes, spiders and sharks (and all the other bad things) that I have been talking about in the past.

In the coming weeks and months I hope to cover all the topics mentioned above, and more! If all goes to plan, next week I’ll be looking at the suggestion that Brisbane is now the 14th most expensive city in the world!

Today’s Australian Bad Thing

This is just a taster of what’s to come and manages to combine two of my bad thing bullets above; pollies and the cost of living in Australia.

First, inflation.

Just last week it was announced that the consumer price index (CPI) went up by 0.9% for the quarter ending June 2011. This has taken annual inflation to just over 3.6%, which is above the Reserve Bank’s target.

This jump is explained by our Treasurer; his name is Wayne Swan. It’s the price of bananas!

a bunch of bananasWell, he didn’t say that directly. But he did blame the increase in the price of fruit, caused by the destruction suffered during Australia’s recent natural disasters, for taking the inflation figures outside of the Reserve Banks target.

Which is interesting, because in 2006 the same Mr Swan accused the opposition Treasurer of “attempting to use bananas as a shield”. On that occasion, Cyclone Larry had destroyed 80% of the banana crop here which had also caused a spike in the CPI.

So is today’s bad thing the price of bananas? No! It’s our Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Top BananaNext week, a more serious look at the cost of living in Australia. And, in other posts, plenty of great things about living in Australia too.

Just because there are plenty of great things about living in Australia.

Footnote: Bananas! Bananas! Get your bananas here! Just $14.98 a kilo!

Bananas!

banana dance

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Sílen November 15, 2014, 1:21 pm | Link

    Hi,
    I know it’s going to be a strange question, but I’m really afraid of cockroaches. Are there many of them there? How many cockroaches do you see inside your house per week during summer? And what about the other dangerous animals?

  • Kristen July 17, 2012, 8:10 am | Link

    WOW! 14 dollars a KILO!? Charging that much should be punishable by death. Seriously, I used to live there for a couple years till my visa ran up and had to move back to America and it was NEVER that bad! I didn’t even know about the carbon tax till recently. From what my friend over there tells me, it’s one idiot in position after another. I would love to do nothing more than to move back, don’t know if I will be able to afford it now. I guess one good thing is that I don’t really eat many bananas.

    • BobinOz July 17, 2012, 9:48 pm | Link

      Calm down Kristen, it’s all okay now 🙂 it was only because of the floods, bananas are now quite reasonable $3 – $5 a kilo. No need for death row.

      Carbon tax though, that’s a different story. Don’t get me started on that one!

  • Nicole February 26, 2012, 9:03 pm | Link

    Ok ive been reading the above posts and will attempt to explain why bananas were at the highest price they’d been at since i was born 38 years ago..the cyclones from 6 years ago that hit northern queensland wiped out the banana crops that were used for export as well as providing the majority ir bananas for purchase here in Australia…then with the devastating floods in 2011 again crops were destroyed…Queensland provides the majority of banana crops here and so with so few crops available the prices sky rocketed to cope with supply and demand…if prices are cheap….you sell loads if prices expensive you have some way of controlling how much is bought…instead of buying a kilo you’d buy 1-2 bananas…i lived in Qld for five years and moved bk to Melbourne two years ago but still have family who live in Brisbane….bananas werent the only fruit or veg to sky rocket…but you’d be glad to know that my local grocer was selling bananas only last week for $1.49 a kilo…..by the way….Melbourne was voted for the third time as the worlds most liveable city….Brisbane is still behind the likes of Sydney and Melbourne by way of salaries, opportunities etc….but its a nice place to live if you prefer the slower pace…

    • BobinOz February 27, 2012, 10:25 pm | Link

      Hi Nicole

      Thanks for the explanation and yes, bananas are now reasonably priced again. Let’s hope we don’t get any more natural disasters for a while, and not just for the sake of the price of bananas.

      Yes, I’ve got a post or two about Melbourne being the most liveable city.

  • Tyler December 27, 2011, 4:25 am | Link

    I noticed your spider pics there. If you’re worried about encountering any scary animals in Australia, you should probably be most worried about spiders. We always had at least a few each year in my old house in Tassie. They were Huntsman spiders, many of which were the size of an adult male hand and they would scatter about very quickly if disturbed. They’d frighten the crap out of you if you walked by one in the morning. Totally harmless though.

    • BobinOz December 30, 2011, 12:32 pm | Link

      Not so sure about that one Tyler, there’s a few critters I’d put ahead of spiders in the scary stakes. Snakes, crocodiles, sharks and Irukandji for starters. Although you can avoid three of those just by staying away from water.

  • Ian August 17, 2011, 12:58 am | Link

    Before the big excuse ( mainly by woollies and coles to rip the public off) bananas were $1-36 a kilo. Currently in the philippines about $0-30 c a kilo – but then again the average wage in Aus at the moment is around $1200-00 a week. In Manila its a tad under $100-00 even if you’re a rocket scientist. They are giving houses away in the US and no ones got a job any more and the beer is lousy too. Cost of packaged salads really craps me – go check out – some three times the price of steak. Bread a loaf from $1-00 up to whatever you’re dumb enought to pay – Arnotts scotch finger biscuits @$2-60 a pack but woolies or coles at $0-95. So I suppose theres lots of good stuff around and beer is still cheap enough to get drunk on. Sides, who’d wanna live in the US or Philip’s let alone “good” ole blighty? NO ME!

    • BobinOz August 17, 2011, 11:28 pm | Link

      Too right! The answer is simple; stay off the Arnotts Scotch finger biscuits, avoid bananas, don’t bother with packaged salads and buy more beer! That’s what I do….

  • Chris August 7, 2011, 3:20 pm | Link

    That’s funny and all, but what are bananas REALLY selling for? $14 per kilo makes them about 6.36 per pound! Here in the US, they are about $.46 per pound ($1.02 per kilo USD). But hey, I’m sure our dollar will tank soon, and they will be what we actually use for money. Have other food prices skyrocketed too, or is it just a select few that were severely impacted?

    • BobinOz August 8, 2011, 2:36 pm | Link

      Yep, they are really selling for $14 a kilo, not sure who’s buying them though. As Anna has pointed out in her post (mentioned above), Australia’s bananas were destroyed in the floods/cyclone, but Australia will not import bananas due to strict regulations. Otherwise I suspect we would be buying bunches of bananas from the US at that price.

      Not all foods have skyrocketed, it’s mainly fruit. We are hoping for it all to settle down sometime soon. Of course, we’d have to stay flood free and avoid cyclone damage for it to stay settled. That would be nice.

  • Anna lowman August 6, 2011, 10:03 pm | Link

    Great post. Apparently banana prices are expected to return to normal in september (let’s hope so anyway). The prices in Sydney are crazy at the moment, something I’ve written about on my own blog (http://aussiedollars.wordpress.com)

    • BobinOz August 8, 2011, 2:31 pm | Link

      Hi Anna

      Just read your post, $3 each indeed! Some cuts of steak are probably cheaper. Ridiculous!

  • Liv August 5, 2011, 11:41 pm | Link

    Bananas are $14 a kilo here in WA Bob. When I was living in Cairns they were about that too, even though I would often drive past banana trees (the ones that made it through the storm I suppose!) – where’s the sense in that price though? I say this quietly, but shouldn’t they be more pricey over here, having made the long journey? hmmm! Makes no sense to me!

    • BobinOz August 8, 2011, 2:28 pm | Link

      Hi Liv

      Yes, you would have thought they’d be a little dearer having had to travel all that distance, but lucky lucky you they are not. Are you actually buying them at that price? I’m waiting till they come down a good deal before I go back into the banana market. What did they used to be, about $4 a kilo?

  • Hector August 4, 2011, 5:09 am | Link

    I’m waiting very anxious for the post about “Great things about living in Australia”!! 🙂

    • BobinOz August 4, 2011, 6:36 pm | Link

      Thanks Hector, but it will be many posts. By the way, have you downloaded my free e-book, that’s got 20 great things in it. Pop your email a name in the boxes top right.

  • Jackie Jones August 4, 2011, 12:38 am | Link

    Hi, I am currently living in north west London and am looking to move to Australia.
    I have a double A level in travel and tourism and another in history. My main qualifications, however, are in history.
    Is it possible to get a sponsorship visa for organizations such as National Trust Australia and museums?
    Any advice welcome, thanks Jackie.

    • BobinOz August 4, 2011, 7:09 pm | Link

      A bit off subject Jackie, your question is not relevant to this post at all, we’re talking bananas here! If you could search for posts and pages that are relevant in future, I’d appreciate it. Anyway…..

      You could always ask, but I’m pretty sure they would be looking for a degree as a minimum, probably four years work experience and a recognised qualification for your work skill.

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