Source: The Australian, Friday, March 1, 1996, p.3
By social affairs writer MICHELLE GUNN THE average Australian household spends $30 a week or more than a quarter of the weekly food budget on take-away meals and eating out, according to a survey released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It may be the speed of life, the joys to be found in our buzzing restaurants and cafes, or a reluctance to spend hours in the kitchen. Whatever the reason, Australians spend more and more of their weekly earnings on meals prepared outside the home. According to the ABS the average household spends about $17 a week dining in restaurants, hotels and clubs, and $12 a week on take-away food. This equals about 27 per cent of total expenditure on food and non- alcoholic drinks compared to 25 per cent in 1988-89 and 22 per cent in 1984. Part of the ABS's 1993-94 Household Expenditure Survey series, the publication released yesterday, gives detailed information on the expenses incurred each week by Australian households. It found food and nonalcoholic beverages were a household's greatest expense at $111 each week. This included $18 on meat and seafood, $14 on fruit, nuts and vegetables, $13 on bakery products and cereals, $11 on dairy products, eggs and oils and $8 on miscellaneous drinks. By comparison $17 a week is spent on alcoholic beverages (beer $9, wine $4, spirits $3, other $1). The survey found households spend about $602 a week on goods and services with more than half of this money going on food, transport and housing. At $94 a week, transport is the second-biggest expense. Not surprisingly most of this is spent on running the family car or cars, with $27 going on repayments, $26 on petrol, $15 on insurance and registration, and $20 on other running expenses. Public transport fares amount to $3 a week, as do taxi and air fares. The fourth greatest expense is recreation, which at $79 a week is 33 per cent higher than in the late 1980s. Just over a third of this is spent on holidays.
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