Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald on August 18, 2012

Canberrans pay more for petrol than residents in other capital cities. In fact, we pay more for petrol than people in nearby regional towns like Albury. While I don’t have too much sympathy for the oil companies, we shouldn’t single them out for too much criticism as the simple truth is that Canberrans pay more for most things. Restaurant meals are expensive in Canberra – indeed, so is a salad sandwich. Coffee is generally cheaper in Sydney than Canberra. Even wooden Thomas the tank engine toys are cheaper in other cities than they are in the nation’s capital. The main reason for this pattern is simple: Canberra has the highest average income of any city in Australia. Of course there are parts of Sydney and parts of Melbourne with high average income, but, city-wide, Canberra tops the list by a wide margin.

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