National results for Australia reflect the combined
results for two major cities, Melbourne and Sydney, with
Adelaide and Brisbane also included in the study.
Among these major cities, Adelaide and Melbourne
are the cost leaders and appear to be in constant
competition for the title of “lowest cost city” in
Australia. These two cities have alternated between first
and second place among the Australian cities compared
in each edition of Competitive Alternatives since 2008.
Brisbane has experienced rising costs for industrial
leasing and utilities since 2014. This has pushed
Brisbane’s total business costs above those of Sydney
for the first time in the history of this study.
Among the four study sectors, Australia ranks
consistently as fifth among the 10 countries in all
sectors except for manufacturing. Relatively high
costs for industrial facility leasing and transportation
(freight) contribute to Australia’s lower ranking in the
The rise in value of the US dollar relative to the
Australian dollar in 2015 is the primary driver of
Australia’s improved cost index in 2016 and the
improvement in rankings for the Australian cities.
However, other cost trends as noted in the table help
Australia to move ahead of France, the UK and Japan in
the current study.