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Working in Brisbane

Centred around the Brisbane River, this city gifts its residents beautiful weather all year, a bustling cultural scene and a friendly, culturally-diverse population. If you’re planning on moving there, according to the Australian Jobs Report 2018, 51% of Queensland’s state employment is in Brisbane, making it an attractive option for employment.

With affordable living, a growing economy and a welcoming, international population, Brisbane checks all the right boxes. Brisbane is one of Australia’s fastest growing capitals in terms of employment and population. A thriving cultural scene and laidback way of life make it more appealing than other fast-paced Australian cities.

Living in Brisbane

True to its Sunshine State moniker, Queensland has a warm, tropical climate that allows the residents of Brisbane to soak in sunshine for most of the year. The general lifestyle of its population is described as ‘relaxed’ and until the early 2000s, a majority of its residents live in detached houses with accompanying gardens. The city sprawls over a large area with the river Brisbane running through it.

Employment in Brisbane

According to data from Australian Jobs Report 2018, the key employment industries in Brisbane include healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, construction, education and training, and accommodation and food services. The job market in Brisbane is growing and makes for 51% of Queensland’s state employment. The Commonwealth Games was held on the Gold Coast in April 2018 and was a contributing factor to improving the job market. Queensland saw a rise of employment by 7.6% in the 5 years leading up to Nov 2018.

Finding a job in the city will depend on a range of factors including your skills and qualifications, economic factors and the type of work that you are looking for. Australia has firm work laws in place that protect the rights of both employees and employers. It is the purpose of these laws to ensure a fair, safe and rewarding workspace for everyone involved.  For more information on this, you can visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Are New Zealanders allowed to work in Brisbane?

Thanks to the close relationship between Australia and New Zealand, Kiwis have an easy time relocating to Australia.  As a Kiwi, you get a Special Category Visa (SCV) when you land in Australia and this allows you to do quite a bit including work, study and travel. However, it does not entitle you to receive Permanent Residency (PR). SCV is a temporary, unprotected visa which doesn’t allow for benefits or Medicare.

If you’re considering permanently relocating to Brisbane, you should apply for a skilled workers visa or skilled independent visa. This means that you have skills that are valuable in Brisbane/Australia. Visit the Trades Recognition Australia website to see the list of skills that they need and if you meet the criteria. For more information about General Skilled Migration program, take a look at the Dept. of Immigrations and Citizenship website.

How do I get a Job in Brisbane?

You can apply for jobs online via Australian job portals and many employers are happy to conduct interviews remotely.  If you travel with a skilled workers visa, it increases your chances of getting a job and improves your odds for getting Permanent Residency as well. Take a look at our Australian Employment Guide for more information on resume formats and salary expectations.

How do I open a bank account in Brisbane?

You will need an Australian bank account that your salary will be paid into. You can open a bank account online when you are still in New Zealand. But you do have to have your arrival information, employment details and personal details on hand. You will have to provide your bank with proof of identity. Generally, there is a points based system for the documents that you can produce as proof. The points should add up to 100. Your name in all of these documents should be spelled exactly the same way to avoid any confusion.

How do I pay tax in Brisbane?

Your employer will pay tax on your behalf but one of the first things you do after you get to Australia is get an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number which is called TFN or Tax File Number in Australia. With a Kiwi passport you can apply for this online once you’re in Australia. If you don’t get this number, you will be charged with a much higher tax rate. This is a one-time process and this TFN will be yours for life.

You need to be in Australia to apply for a TFN. When you file for your tax returns, get an accountant the first couple of times until you get the hang of it. For this period there may be some crossover of NZ and Australian tax periods that could add to the confusion.

If you’re leaving NZ, you need to notify the tax department so give the IRD a call or fill in the IR886 tax Residence Questionnaire. This will make it clear whether you still have tax obligations in NZ. If you are liable to pay tax in both countries, you need to contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as well as the Inland Revenue Department in NZ.

Are my New Zealand Qualifications recognised in Brisbane?

The New Zealand Quality Assurance (QA) and the Australian Equivalent (which is Australian Government Department of Education and Training) have worked together to make sure that the levels of both countries are comparable. Many polytechnic degrees are recognised qualifications in Australia and allow Kiwis to practice some occupations (like plumbing or electrical work) without further testing thanks to the Trans-Tasman mutual Recognition Agreement. To have your skills recognised, you should get in touch with Australian Education International.

How can I commute in Brisbane?

Brisbane’s CBD is easy to navigate as it is set on a grid, the roads named after English Kings and female monarchs. If you have a valid NZ Drivers Licence, you can use that for the first three months that you are in Australia. After this you will have to apply for a licence in Brisbane.

Brisbane has excellent public transport, you should get yourself a TransLink go card with which you can travel on all TransLink ferries, rail services and buses. It is a first-rate integrated system that lets you navigate the city easily. You can use your TransLink card across south east Queensland. These cards are available at select retailers and QR Stations and can be topped up as you like. You can also hail a taxi or Uber for a quick trip. Or take advantage of the climate and bicycle lanes to cycle around the city.

A great city to live and work in

Brisbane has a lot of things going for it, from employment opportunities, affordable housing and lovely weather to a culturally diverse, friendly and educated population. Its vibrant, multicultural population includes students, retirees from all over the world, young working professionals and even families with children. Strong infrastructure and convenient public transport only add to the advantages of living and working in this city.

Culture, entertainment and food

Despite being so close to the coast, leisure activities in Brisbane are not restricted to seaside sports. The city has a bustling art, music and culture scene. Brisbane compares itself to the free, inclusive spirit of San Francisco rather than fast-paced, work-centric Melbourne and Sydney. 

Brisbane’s South Bank area offers you the Gallery of Modern Art (Australia’s largest museum for contemporary art), the Performing Arts Centre, the Brisbane Powerhouse and the Queensland Museum.  In 1999, the Queensland Government enacted the Art Built-In policy which required a percentage of building construction to be devoted to public works. This project did a lot to recognise the importance of artists and led to the creation of creative industries like Brisbane’s Urban Art Projects.

The South Bank also hosts the Parklands which is built on the site of Brisbane’s successful World Expo ‘88. The Parklands offers you forestry, water, shopping, a riverfront promenade, food and plazas among other delights. It also hosts several annual festivals like Riverfire and an Australia Day Festival.  The Brisbane Jazz club is good for a smooth sax tune and the city also has an active Indie music scene.

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to international cuisines thanks to the plethora of restaurants that cater to the multicultural tastes of the city’s population. Brisbane has also developed a unique answer to the food truck fad with its Eat Street Markets. These are housed in shipping containers bedecked with graffiti in the Hamilton area. You can stroll through sampling anything from locally caught oysters and wood-fire pizzas to a crowd favourite - spiral-cut potatoes on a stick!

Fortitude Valley comes alive after sundown with a nightlife that draws live music talent and international DJs to its sophisticated rooftop clubs and bars. The Chinatown Mall is another notable feature here that is home to supermarkets with exotic inventory and restaurants.  For a laidback barbecue, seafood or a picnic, make a beeline to the Northern or Southern Bayside areas of Brisbane. Whether you prefer an evening of fine dining or you want to visit an old fashioned pub, you can find what you’re looking for in this city.

Bio-diversity and sustainability

Brisbane is the proud gateway to Queensland’s natural beauty. The Scenic Rim with its verdant rainforests and mountain ranges are protected as a World Heritage Site. On your weekends, you can enjoy exploring bushland reserves around Brisbane. The City council protects and manages 9500 hectares of natural land. The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are just an hour away from the city both by private and public transport. Let’s not forget the Brisbane River which provides residents with no shortage of scenic riverside views. The CityCat ferries let you navigate the city via the river.

Brisbane was named Australia’s most sustainable city in 2014 and 2016 and has made green living a priority. Their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and sustainability is linked to their belief that their natural environment is connected to the liveability of their city. The Brisbane. Clean. Green. Sustainable 2017-2031 outlines the City Council’s aims to further their efforts in green living. The Brisbane City Council website has more information on their commitment.


If you have children or if you are looking to take your education further, Brisbane is home to the renowned University of Queensland. Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology are also located in Brisbane.  

For younger children, there are free public schools and private schools to choose from. Schooling is mandatory for children until the age of 16 but most children continue to get their Senior Certificate and their Tertiary Entrance Statement as these are required for them to access public universities. 

Homes and neighbourhoods

Traditionally, homes in Brisbane have been detached houses with accompanying gardens. In the early 2000s, rising demand for housing around the CBD led to the construction of high-rise buildings with loft-style apartments. If you’re lucky, you can get one with beautiful views of Moreton Bay or Mt. Choot-tha. These are generally popular with young professionals and students who like to live close to work and recreational areas.

You can still see the distinctive ‘Queenslander’ architecture with their characteristic breezy verandas and high ceilings in suburban homes. Period cottages from the late colonial era are common around the inner suburbs of Brisbane including Spring Hill and Petrie terrace. Typical period houses from the 1880s are located around Red Hill, Paddington, Highgate Hill and East Brisbane. The city has about 200 suburbs and a wide range of housing options to choose from depending on what matters the most to you – proximity to schools, work, housing styles and so on.

Cost of living in Brisbane

The cost of living in Brisbane is more affordable than Sydney and Melbourne. According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Brisbane was listed as the world’s 84th most expensive city to live in (209 cities were surveyed around the world). Rent, which is generally the biggest expense you have, ranges from AUD 1300/per month for a one-bedroom apartment outside the CBD to AUD 3000/per month for one in the city centre. 


How do I get a job in Brisbane?

You can apply for jobs from NZ, online. There are many websites devoted to jobs, including Check out our full guide to finding employment in Australia here.

How do I pay tax in Brisbane?

Once you get to Aussie, you’ll need to apply for a TFN, Tax File Number. This is the Australian equivalent to the IRD number. Once you’ve got that sorted, your employer will pay tax on your behalf, the same as NZ employers do.

What are the commute options in Brisbane?

If you don’t have your own car, there is a good network of buses and trains to take you where you need to be within Brisbane or the wider Queensland.

How do I get an Australian bank account?

Before you leave NZ, you can apply for a bank account online. Head online and apply for a bank account. You’ll need proof of ID, arrival date and employment details.

Are New Zealanders allowed to work in Brisbane?

Kiwis are given a SCV, Special Category Visa, on arrival into Australia. This gives you the right to work in Australia for as long as you like. However, you cannot work for the armed forces or government unless you are an Australian resident.

Are my NZ qualifications recognised in Brisbane?

There is an agreement between NZ and Australia, and qualifications gained in either country are recognised in the other.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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