Here are some of the opinions
Having spent significant time in both countries, I would also want to know more about the person asking the question. Both countries are unique and wonderful, but in their own way. If you are open to new cultures, especially based around food, Singapore is a foodies heaven. The idea of being able to eat out every night for less money than to cook yourself is definitely appealing. Australia on the other hand is a stunning natural beauty. My best advice is to live in both places!
To say which is better, will depends on multiple factors. The primary capability, will still be economic by nature. So let start with the comparison;
Safety – there is no comparison here. Singapore win hands down. Unless you actually dabble with soft drugs, or would like a snort or 2, Singapore IS the safer place to raise your family.
Homes – To live a comfortable life (no matter how you define comfortable), it will be relatively costly in both cities;
- A ‘landed’ property in Singapore will cost around S$1.5M upwards
- A decent suburban condo with 3 bedrooms can go for S$800K upwards
- A ‘landed’ property in GOOD Suburbs in Greater Melbourne will cost A$1M upwards
- A city apartment can go for around $850K – 2+M
- Some suburban apartments can go for around $800 – $1M depending on locations
To compare both, one must also understand the nuances. There are almost zerounsafe zones in Singapore. The closest ‘unsafe’ zone in Singapore might be seedy, but is still safer as compared to most Australian cities by a long shot.
The point I’m trying to make isn’t about crime, but the fact that this actually affect property choices. There are reasons why “good” Aussie suburbs are much more expensive and why certain suburbs can struggle to sell bigger homes at half the price.
Singapore property is a bit more simple. Location still matters, but it’s primarily about distance to town, amenities and the availability of branded schools without so much of a safety consideration.
If I want to confuse you more, one will need to look at cost of financing as well, in which case current interest rates in Singapore is around under 1% for housing loans, while Aus is around 4.X% on a record low rate. Bear in mind that MAS does not manage our currency via interest rate, so we’re very used to low interest rates. Personally, I’ve never seen anything beyond 3.5% for housing loan for the past 15–20 years.
Healthcare – Healthcare in both cities is largely world class. Standards of care are very high, but cost is equally high as well. Depending on the individual residency status within each countries, but in general, Singapore residents tend to have more out of pocket expenses even with our 3M system.
A resident who has proper & decently cost-effective insurance coverage will find that our catastrophic coverage is very good with low out of pocket for hospitalisation events, but typical outpatient treatments and consultation is a convoluted system of co-pay + government subsidies.
It used to be much worse as we only shifted to Universal Healthcare recently, but with Medishield life, it got much better since 2014/2015. Generally speaking, this is the more fiscally sustainable model from the state’s perspective, because it shifts a large enough risk to the individual, which is absorbed from Insurance. AS LONG AS you don’t fill within the gaps, which does happen.
The Australian Medicare system is awesome (if you understand it), but equally (if not more) convoluted under a mixed system of Government Co-Pay, Insurance etc. The common misconception is that seeing doctors are free. That’s incorrect. It’s actually “bulked billed”, ie, the Govt (Medicare) takes up the payment because the Doctor agrees to the fixed rate that the Federal Govt sets.
Medicine falls under PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), where you’ll need to visit a Chemist, Co-Pay for a certain amount and get your medication. Tough luck if your medication isn’t covered under PBS though.
From personal experience, I tend to think that Singapore Doctors treat more aggressively, while Australian doctors (I had experience from 2 states), tend to be more relaxed and let time take its course. They are less willing to give antibiotics & medication generally IMO. But the Aussies have a much better (or over-diagnosed depending on how you look at it) pediatric system.
Children are tested for multiple ailments very early for early intervention. Melbourne as a whole, IS the world leader after all, in multiple early childhood intervention sector.
But in general, Singapore is considered Modified Universal Healthcare while Australia is true Universal Healthcare and again, both are of exceptionally high quality.
Education – It would very much depend on what exactly do you want from your child. The Singaporean system is rigorous, stressful, but we’re top ranked by PISA year in year out. Singaporeans are often our harshest critics. We might have a well regarded system, but we still think it isn’t good enough.
The Aussie system is slacker and play is more emphasized. For example, even in formal pre-school, its more play as opposed to structured learning so Singaporean kids tend to be more “ahead” in most areas. I can’t say which system is better. It’s really up to parents to decide which make more sense to you folks.
Transport – This is simple really. To people who don’t mind public transport, Singapore win hands down. If you love cars and cars are the ONLY way to go, well, Australia is better, you do have more space to drive.
But again, the point about cars being cheap in Australia is a misnomer. Cars might be expensive in Singapore, but you DO get a choice to not drive at all and live on what Singaporeans call the BMW (Bus, MRT Walk). Add Uber, Grab and Taxis into the mix, there are heaps of people who has never driven a private car in their entire life before.
On another note, I guess, its equally (if not more) important is the fact to some folks that parking, road tolls are actually cheaper as compared to Australia in town. I’ve known of folks who actually live in Australia and avoid driving, I mean, there IS public transport, but its no where are comprehensive as Singapore.
Legal System – Both have trustworthy legal systems and rule of law is generally strong. But there is a difference here.
In Singapore, fighting a case against the Govt will ALMOST always result in you losing (unless you’re a mega corporation with plenty of money to spend), and becoming bankrupt, while that’s not the case in Australia.
Economy – I’m tempted to say that Singapore will win this hands down, but I guess it depends. Certain skill sets are more valued in Australia, and general low-mid level jobs are paid higher in Australia. Blue collar workers are more respected, and actually earn respectable (some say very high) income.
Tradies arn’t cheap to hire, and that has resulted in the fact that skilled workers (as opposed to knowledge workers) such as Plumbers, vehicle mechanics etc , are able to make very good money with their skills. In general, I would argue that life in Australia is more equitable, and everyone is entitled to a “fair-go”.
From another perspective, for mid to high level Executives, Singapore is a much better place as Australia is really 7 hours away from any major economic power, it is typically ANZ hub and Singapore tends to be ASEAN or APAC hub.
So, I’ve done a relatively extensive comparison between SG AND AUS. Which country is better? None in my opinion. They are both good and bad in their own way. Just different.
Singapore is suffering inflation currently. Prices of everything has risen and even most of the singaporeans are having a hard time coping up with the economy currently. Prices have increased while salaries have stayed the same. While in australia i found life pretty smooth. The benifit of being in singapore is the education of your kids though ( if you have any). Autralian school’s curiculum is nothing compared to Singapore’s. If you are just looking for a better life, probably Australia would be the best place for you. 🙂
For regular people – handsdown Australia. Unless you have an exorbidant amount of money, then Singapore will be the better choice. It has more tech and facilities, there is more you can do here if you have insane amounts of money.
Australia exudes a relaxed and carefree vibe which is really what regular people look forward to when they “settle” right?