Australians are spending almost 5 hours commuting to work each week – and these three cities are the absolute worst

Commuter times across the country are getting longer (Photo by Mark Kolbe, Getty Images)
  • The amount of time you spend going to and from work is on the rise, with Australians spending 4.5 hours on average commuting.
  • The three biggest cities Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne have the longest commute times, with Sydneysiders spending almost six hours on the move.
  • Canberra and Brisbane however have seen the biggest increases, with commuters spending hours more than they did back in 2002.

Australian workers could be forgiven for asking where the time goes.

After all, they spend much of it just trying to get between home and work — 4.5 hours on average a week, according to the latest figures compiled by social researchers at the Melbourne Institute.

That’s almost an hour more than back in 2002, or an extra 12 minutes a day, and around an hour more per week than the global average.

That doesn’t bode well, considering a University of West England study found that a 10-minute increase in a person’s daily commute hurts their job satisfaction as much as a 19% pay cut.

Depending on where you live, however, those travel times have blown out even further.

Sydneysiders for example probably won’t be surprised to hear their commute is the worst in the whole country, with workers spending 71 minutes getting to work and back every day, just shy of six hours a week. That’s what you get for building Australia’s largest city around a harbour that has frustrated planners since its foundation.

Despite lacking that 500 gigalitre roadblock, other cities aren’t far behind.

This is how long Australians on average take to get to and from work (Source: Melbourne Institute)

Melbourne workers spend 65 odd-minutes — just six minutes less a day — with none of the views or excuses. That average, however, hasn’t budged by much over the last 15 years or so that the Institute has completed its survey.

The real surprise, however, is that Brisbane, with just a fraction of the population, has commuters spending a minute more each day getting to their daily grind. In fact, it’s blown out completely since 2002, the earliest figures from the Melbourne Institute.

Back then, Brisbane commuters got to work quicker than Perth workers, taking just 46 minutes a day. Now it’s 66 minutes. That means if Brisbane is home, you have 1 hour 44 minutes less free time every week.

That’s mirrored by the Canberra experience, with the ACT blowing out its commute times by more than any other city in the country.

In 2002, Canberrans spent just over two and a half hours getting to work each week. Now their commute has almost doubled, spending two hours more on the road.

In every state and city of the country, in fact, commutes are on the rise except in one.

Tasmania somehow has managed to buck the trend, with workers actually saving 48 seconds every day compared to 17 years ago.

We hope they use it wisely.

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