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A Few Questions About Life in Oz

Discussion in 'Australia' started by ryalex, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 6, 2003
    21,231
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    Ryan Alexander
    Hi guys. I'm entertaining the idea of working in Sydney, but have a few questions about life in Australia. Background: I'm from Canada, finished high school in NZ, university in Hawaii, now at law school in Boston.

    What are the taxes like?

    Have any of you lived in the US - what is it comparable to?

    In Canada and NZ, the social culture isn't very condusive to entrepreneurship and business growth ("if you're rich you must be screwing someone (laborers) out of their money")... is Oz like that or are people more financially adventurous? Are people ambitious? Is there an social aversion to wealth?

    One of the reasons I really don't like Canada was that the people I grew up there with were very closed minded and had very little aspirations - something I like in Americans: many more Americans are more adventurous and are willing to dream big.

    About Ferraris - how do the prices work out - equal to US? Any extra taxes? How much for a 328 (here they run $40-55k USD)?
    There's no photo radar crap like NZ, is there?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sin

    Sin Karting

    Nov 28, 2003
    147
    WA
    Full Name:
    Mark
    *all of these opinions are my own*

    Ok I lived in Australia over 20 years and in USA for 7 months. USA is better in almost every respect IMHO

    Taxes are pretty bad. For a $30k job you will be paying 30% tax. For around 45k+ you will be paying 49.5% tax. THAT IS HALF OF YOUR MONEY GOING STRAIGHT TO A DISGRACEFUL GOVERNMENT. 10% GST on most things except food. Luxuries (like import USA cars) 50-100% tax.

    Housing is sydney is very expensive. It is 4-5+ times what houses are worth in the mid size town I live in at the moment. My Uncle has a 4bed/2bath/2 garage place 50kms south of the city and it worth AU$350k (US262k) and its a normal house, nothing overly special, single story, normal size block. Roughly the same house here 15mile from downtown is US$120k (AU160K) and includes a basment, something you will not get in Sydney. Want to go closer to the city ... better start saving.

    >About Ferraris - how do the prices work out - equal to US? Any extra taxes? How much for a 328 (here they run $40-55k USD)?

    hehe ... reality check time. Quick search found a 328 with 55k kms for AU$130K (US97.5K), and a 2nd hand 2002 550 with 1200kms for AU$590K (US442K), and a 98 550 with 20k kms for AU$347K (US260K).

    >There's no photo radar crap like NZ, is there?

    hahaha ... mate you have got to be kidding me. Australia has THE WORST use of speed cameras in the entire world. Period. In Melbourne (where I lived for a while) if you speed 3km over the limit (2mile/hour) you will get fined $165. There are hundreds of speed cameras, mostly fixed. If you speed 25kmh (15mile) over the limit, you will lose your licence. The police are ****ing thieves and there is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT IN MY MIND WHATSOEVER.

    Perfect example - Police will set up road blocks to defect every car in a cruise, and use 10+ cars and 20+ officers to do so. You want proof? I organised a cruise which was blocked off by the cops, we made the front page of the newspaper for it!
    http://www.axg.net/gg/ct/images/paper/story.jpg
    (don't believe what you read there, the truth is something totally different).

    30 cars defected, fines in total ranged from $30 (parking ticket) to $700 (defected, fined multiple times, made to tow home - all for having 18" rims?) with the THIEVES taking about $8000 for the night. Top work guys!

    A friend is driving, and a car crashes into him, does not stop and takes off. He gets their plate, but the POLICE will NOT INVESTIGATE because the damage is less than $4000. Told to his face! What the **** are the police doing? They don't give a **** about people, they care about making $. And that's it. And they will do anything they can to get money off people.

    > Have any of you lived in the US - what is it comparable to?

    Cars - twice the price on average. petrol is twice the price. Car rego is around $500/year depending on what you drive. In Washington it is $25. Custom plates (NSW) $400/year plus registration. WA - $30/year and $20 of that goes to the Wildlife Foundation :)

    Food - cheaper overall in Australia. Especially Pizza.

    Eating out - much cheaper in Australia.

    Utility bills - cheaper in USA. Especially phones. Water & Gas not sure about, we get free water & gas, electricity, about the same I think.

    Buying stuff - usually cheaper in USA. Especially electronics.

    Best stuff of USA (Washington) - The weather (especially winter), very low taxes, cheap cars and far cheaper car running costs, far cheaper houses, the weather, police spond their time doing useful things. Customer service is far better here. Hundreds of great cities to go to.

    Worst stuff WA - eating out is $, pizza's are really expensive, car insurance is unbelievably expensive for me (coming down soon tho finally), compulsory insurance. No cricket! Summer is still too hot but not as bad. the news on tv is crap.

    Best stuff of AU - sports (cricket & footy), cheaper eating out, better nightlife (depends where you are really), mostly rwd drives. the world news is good

    Worst stuff AU - weather. It's too hot.! The police (read above), The government, the banks (rip offs). The media (mostly). Everything is too isolated.

    As you can tell I don't care much for how the government & police run. Being a lawyer (ie rich) and owning a ferrari, you will probably not have the problems that modified & nice car owners have. I'm sure lots of people won't agree with me, but that's my 100% honest opinions on Australia. I much prefer to live in USA.

    - Mark
     
  3. JOEV

    JOEV F1 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2003
    2,657
    London, ON, Canada
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    Joe
    My God!!! That's simply ludicrous. Makes Canada seem like free enterprise and low taxes run amok! :)

    Strange thing is, a while ago, there was some worldwide survey that stated that Australia had the least corruption of any country in the world. I'll try to find it later.
     
  4. Sin

    Sin Karting

    Nov 28, 2003
    147
    WA
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    Mark
    corrupt probably isn't a good word .... not on the right track is a better one. taxes are so high but they keep on raping the people for more money. If they lowered the taxes to what we have here in USA everyone would have way more disposable income and then they would spend it all and it goes around and round and the government would end up with more money and the people would be more happy as well. (in theory :) )
     
  5. jmillard308

    jmillard308 F1 Veteran
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    May 29, 2003
    5,687
    Perth West Oz
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    "What are the taxes like?"
    Tax rates 2003-04 ($OZ)
    Taxable income Tax on this income
    $0 – $6,000 Nil
    $6,001 – $21,600 17c for each $1 over $6,000
    $21,601 - $52,000 $2,652 plus 30c for each $1 over $21,600
    $52,001 – $62,500 $11,772 plus 42c for each $1 over $52,000
    Over $62,500 $16,182 plus 47c for each $1 over $62,500
    The above rates do not include the Medicare levy of 1.5%.

    "For a $30k job you will be paying 30% tax"
    Not true - $30k = $5172 Tax - 17%

    "For around 45k+ you will be paying 49.5% tax"
    Not True - $50k = $11172 Tax - 22%

    Actual selling prices for 328's are somewhere around $OZ100k = about $US75k. Asking prices seem to be a touch over the 100 but sales are generally low to mid 90's - obviously depending on condition - current Ferrari Club National Concours class winner for sale asking $109k.

    "There's no photo radar crap like NZ, is there?"
    Sure the hell is!!!!! When it comes to photo radar crap - Aussies invented, then perfected it!

    "Police will set up road blocks to defect every car in a cruise"
    Never happened in my experience

    We like it - why don't you come out for a look?

    Regards
    John
     
  6. Sin

    Sin Karting

    Nov 28, 2003
    147
    WA
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    Mark
    Thanks for the table.

    From my paycheck - 1246.44 gross, 934.44 net = 29% tax. I was on 33,333.33/year.
     
  7. jmillard308

    jmillard308 F1 Veteran
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    From my paycheck - 1246.44 gross, 934.44 net = 29% tax. I was on 33,333.33/year.[/QUOTE]

    Thats 25% not 29%, however it sounds like someone was getting up your frock. Have you put in a tax return and claimed a refund?

    The table was from the Austarlian Tax office so one could reasonably assume it was correct :)
     
  8. Sin

    Sin Karting

    Nov 28, 2003
    147
    WA
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    Mark
    hehe, you are right, I made a mistake working that number out. Makes it seem not as bad I guess. I only got a return on overtime I worked (none in that pay check). Still doesn't compare to the 9% I'm being taxed now.
     
  9. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Thank very much Sin and JMillard... Not what I was hoping to hear :-(. Something like "20% flat taxes!" and "No Photo Radar" and "Ferraris are cheap" would have been nicer, but thank you for the truth. The idea of photo radar REALLY chaps my hide. But your comparison to WA was helpful Sin - I spent 2 yrs in Seattle (99/00).

    When they fined you for 'oversize tyres' told me volumes about the mentality of the country. Joe's right, it even makes Canada seem wild and free, and I was trying to get away from Canada for being too socialist! With the tax scheme and police enforcement as examples, Oz sounds like Canada's ideal: making everyone vanilla-bland, middle-class equal with no disparity and disruption of the peace.

    Kind of interesting to see the difference between Oz as a frontier and Texas (because these cultures start as a branch off of a colonizing one): I think in Australia/NZ/Canada, etc. the Commonwealth system really stamped a psychological mould on the people to be peace-loving, passive and gov't obedient, whereas Texas embodies the free-for-all, "don't tell me what to do" freedom that the world blames on Americans. Personally, I like Texas!

    Well, we'll see what the future holds. My wife says we should just vacation in Australia then... I'd also like to have a small place in NZ. American salaries for lawyers right now are also way higher than anywhere else, and although I'm not sold on law in the long run, it's where I'm going to start out for a few years.
     
  10. Sin

    Sin Karting

    Nov 28, 2003
    147
    WA
    Full Name:
    Mark
    Yep, other people got defected for their hand brake not clicking 7 times when pulled up, scratched front number plate (it was 1/4" long and very thin - basically because it was not perfect it was an excuse for a defect), not having perfectly clean headlights, and a bunch of stuff like that.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a great place to visit and I'll be going back to visit family sometime but when you compare living here to living in aust, its better overall here by a long way.

    You're very right about the texan comparison, aussies let themselves get pushed around by everyone and we can't do anything about it really.
     
  11. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    If you like Texas you are very confused.
     
  12. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!

    Hey, hey, hey... watch out der pilgrim.

    DrTexas

    Actually, if you want to start up a bidness, there's no place like Texas.
     
  13. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    Well sir I'm not out to piss any body off but I think Texas just plain sucks. I've been in Houston as well as Dallas and the only place I like to see in my rear view mirror more is Butte Montana!!!
    Wait a minute I just got back from New York City, and by God that is way suckier than Dallas, Houston, and Butte Montana rolled up into one!!!
    Wait a minute I've been drinking and maybe I don't have any idea what in the hell I'm talking about.
    Never mind.
    Bill
     
  14. jmillard308

    jmillard308 F1 Veteran
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    May 29, 2003
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    Ryan

    Peace Loving? I don't think so! - Australia has produced some of the finest warriors in all theatres of war in the last 100 years. We have a "don't mess with us" mentality!
    Passive? I don't think so! - refer above
    Government Obedient? I don't think so! Disobedience is an OZ national characteristic!

    Sorry if I sound a little Nationalistic, but surely the measure of a country is it's "liveability". Australia, with all it's flaws (inculding speed cameras) is one of the most liveable countries in the world by any measure.

    As I said before - we love it! :)

    John
     
  15. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    Well Glassy baby, I'm not from Texas. Indeed, I can name you a dozen places off the top of my head that are a lot prettier (Missoula, Montana being one of them. The drive over the Lolo pass into Idaho along the Loshsa River being one of the best drives in the country, but watch out for moose.) But I gotta tell ya, folks in Texas are passionate about their state. So don't mess with Texas!

    Once again, though. If you're thinking of starting up a business, this is the place to do it. If you have the hustle, we have the place for it.

    Say good nite, Grace...
     
  16. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    John, I don't think that any of us doubt that Aussies are, well, you guys are, uh, energetic. My dad flew PBYs in the Pacific and used to ferry in and out the coast watchers. He told some interesting stories, but the basic theme was that he was awful glad that you guys were on our side.

    I think Ryan is considering all this from an entrepreneur's point of view. Sad to say, but most government bureaucrats consider anyone who colors outside the lines to be a threat that must be stopped at all costs. The degree to which this happens varies from place to place. I'm sure that Ryan didn't mean to diss your home. He's just doing his due diligence.

    So lift another one for us, eh?

    Dale
     
  17. kenjulco

    kenjulco Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    19
    I am an american and have lived in OZ for over 4 years.
    The following are my views.
    I love it here.There is virtually no underclass.No beggars and little violence.You dont have to be pananoid in the big cities.
    Medical care for the poor is available thru Medicare.There is a 'dole' if you cant get a job and it doesnt run out in 6 months.Thus all citizens have the necessities.
    Housing in the big cities is expensive.Outside the big cities its cheap.
    Ferraris are 2x the price you would pay in the states.[Come with money].
    Sooner than later there will be parallel imports and this problem will fade away.
    If you work hard you can get rich.Not as easy as the states,but definetly possible.
    The people have a heart and if anything that is there biggest problem.
    I am going to apply for citizenship next month.
     
  18. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I didn't mean that I don't think Aussies can be tough SOB's ;-)... like the good Dr. of Taxation was saying, I was viewing it mainly through the eyes of someone who's looking to start businesses/invest in the not-too-distant-future. I know from some 'pick up' rugby experience that both Aussies and Kiwis are tough (although one would not credit the other with it)! But I have been reading around other websites too, and even pro-Australia US expats complain that the gov't has really got the people and economy under its socialist thumb; they stay for the other things John and Ken have mentioned.

    I don't think Oz is a *bad* place at all - it's probably beyond my expectations - and I take for granted the general living is good (heck, I wouldn't ask about the living there if I wasn't interested in the possibility). Same for NZ, and Canada for that matter. But me personally, I'm looking for somewhere with a good living *and* where good returns can be had (heck, I'm even looking at mainland China - I have plenty of Asian and American friends flocking to Shanghai and Xi'an to get a piece of the super-growth action there... some are doing embarassingly well already - but it's a bit too far off that lifestyle balance for me).

    So even though I'll quickly admit the terrain in Texas isn't my cup of tea, much prefering Seattle, NZ, or Hawaii, I like the independent 'can do' attitude of many of the people I've met... and, facing personal decisions, if I chose Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I could get a brand new house and a 328 upon graduation (Spring '06). I'm sure being a lawyer in Oz pays relatively well compared to incomes there, but I'm doubting it's nearly as good - I could get those things, but much farther down the road. Sure, toys and houses aren't everything, but it's just a measurement of how 'stable' I could be on the "provider" end of family responsibilities.

    But the things Ken and John bring up do cross my mind, because it's part of a decision I can make: the social stability and trappings of a Commonwealth lifestyle (that I grew up in, and my father's family clings to), or go where there's admittedly more socio-economic variance- because for someone in my situation it is more advantageous, as I'm not aiming to be on the 'dole' end of things!

    Well, this takes me back to a larger question of what I want in life that strays from the purpose of this thread. Investible capital and toys, or 'stability?' There's also the sense of 'being where the action is,' which is exciting for young people, and even Hawaii was a bit too isolated for me from real industry and goingson, not where the movers and shakers are. Oh well, I've got a few more years to think about this, and even then the first move isn't to the last destination.

    Thanks guys for your input on Australia. If I'm coming to visit, I'll be sure to hit you all up for a place to crash ;-).
     
  19. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    I still think Texas sucks!
     
  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    Sorry Glassy Eyed, I'm not rising to the bait tonight. Not feeling well. Think I'll just go to bed. Nightly nite...
     
  21. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Sorry Doc I thought I was putting this thread to bed. You are definately on top of things. I'm just screwing around and no offence is intended.
    By the way, I could have used a good Tax Doc a couple of years ago!!!
    Bill
     
  22. Admiral Thrawn

    Admiral Thrawn F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2003
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    What is it like here?

    Horrible taxes. Alot of poeple I've found to be depressing, with no direction, ambition or motivation, IMO. I think the isolated ignorant society of this country adds fuel to the fire in this regard. Customer service is indeed much better in the US. Totalitarian gun laws. In fact, obscene laws overall. Law enforcement is incompetant and underfunded.

    Any luxury goods from the US and Europe cost a rediculous amout more(several orders of magnitude).

    It is interesting that you should compare the entrepeneurism of Australians and Americans.

    I say this because Australia is known as the "brain drain;" i.e. even though Australia may produce people with the entrepeneurial spirit, if they want to get anywhere, most will move overseas. This country is victim of the "tall poppy syndrome;" i.e. wealthy successful people are looked upon as being greedy, selfish, etc etc (the exception to this is the blind admiration and obsession with moronic sports people).

    Quite frankly, Australia is a boring, muntane and frustrating country to live in (and I can't wait, along with many of my friends, to leave).
     
  23. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Hey Glass Dude, we can take it! I figured that you were trying to do a funny.

    Actually, I'm not from Texas. I'm a Navy brat, born at Key West-NAS! But it is funny how passionate native Texans are about this state. The only really pretty spots are in the Hill Country around Austin where hippies like Maranelloman play. Lord knows, I have been trying to get out of here for the last 26 years, but somehow I keep coming back. I guess it is more the state of mind that is attractive rather than the state itself. If you are ever gonna be in the area, feel free to call. I can take you around and show you the traffic jams, smog, trash... just kidding about that. But not kidding about calling should you ever find yourself in the area.

    Dale
     
  24. jmillard308

    jmillard308 F1 Veteran
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    You will be sorely missed - not!
     
  25. jmillard308

    jmillard308 F1 Veteran
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    ...and when you return to the wonderful USA, I trust you aren't mugged by a gun-toting crack-head on welfare :)
     

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