A furore has erupted over Sydney’s salary cap concessions after the reigning premier announced the signing of key Crows forward Kurt Tippett.
Representatives of Hawthorn, Brisbane and Adelaide have all questioned the additional 9.8% increase afforded the Swans in their salary cap for the increased cost of living allowance.
While it seems that a major factor in Tippet leaving Adelaide was the desire to leave the pressured existence of an AFL player in a footy-centric city, Adelaide president Rob Chapman lamented the fact Tippett was leaving with ”Certainly from my discussions with Kurt, he really enjoyed himself at the Adelaide footy club, but the fact was he was looking to move away from that fishbowl existence”.
Tippet himself told that he came to his decision “This was a combined football/lifestyle decision and the balance between the two… I was born in Sydney, I have a lot of friends and family there, and this offers me a chance to play football in a lifestyle which I really enjoy.
“It’s obvious the Swans have a very special culture, in addition to a very good team. I look forward to being part of it.”
However the fact that Sydney have extra room in their salary cap due to the concessions has been looming large over the trade. Swans president Andrew Ireland defended the cost-of-living allowance afforded to the Swans, an additional $862,000 this season in the salary cap.
“We’ve got a cost of living allowance, it is clearly dearer in Sydney … there’s no slush fund from our allowance, every player on our list gets (an extra) 10 per cent.”
Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold said of the living allowance ”I think it is just an outdated policy and one that we as a league should have reviewed a long time ago,” he said.
”I don’t know that Melbourne and even Perth costs are that much lower than Sydney now. I think it is an archaic policy setting that needs to be reviewed.” Newbold’s predecessor at Hawthorn Jeff Kennet remarked that the concessions were “20 years out of date” and told how it was almost as expensive to live in Melbourne as it was in Sydney now. Kennett was also part of the group calling for a review of concessions in 2003 in the wake of the Brisbane Lions third consecutive premiership.
The most recent House Price Report conducted by Australian Property Monitors showed that for the March 2012 quarter Sydney had the highest median house price of the AFL states at $641, 037, ahead of Perth ($531,065), Melbourne ($529,077), Adelaide ($437,085) and Brisbane ($433,244); with a national average house price of $535,080.
For apartments, it was a similar story, with Sydney’s $462,145 unit price 13.46% higher than the national average of $406,653, 18% higher than Melbourne ($389,491), 36% higher than Brisbane ($338,910), 62% higher than Adelaide ($285, 651) and 35% higher than Perth ($340,947).
Sydney recorded a record high for median weekly house rent with $500 per week – compared to the national average of $411 and, along with Darwin, also tops the median rents for units in Australian capital cities at $460 a week compared to Brisbane ($365), Melbourne ($350), Perth ($350) and Adelaide ($280).
Is the cost of living in Melbourne – as reflected in house prices – really almost as high as Sydney?
In a word: no.