Average personal incomes across different areas of Australia



The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently published data on personal incomes across Australia’s local government areas for the 2015-16 period.

The average median income across local government areas, generally the most common amount earned was $47,692, an increase of 1.8% on the previous financial year and a rise of 17% since 2010-11.

People in the ACT generally earned the most with a median income of $63,000 while Tasmanians earned the least with a median income of $44,000.

Workers in the Northern Territory have seen the highest wage growth over five years, with many earning 21% more now than in 2011.

At state level, the ABS has calculated which local government areas in each state had the highest number of rich residents. And in some states there are a few surprises.

Not in NSW though. The harbourside Woollahra council area, which includes the Point Piper home of the PM, deluxe mansions and pricey eateries galore, was the richest with a median income of $74,000 a year.

In Melbourne, Stonington residents, the area that includes swish South Yarra and terribly posh Toorak, topped the Victorian table with an income of $60,500.

If those incomes seem a bit low for areas brimful of millionaires, that’s because they are also areas with Australia’s biggest income inequality.

In Woollahra, 55% of the income is generated by just 10% of the residents with more than half of people not considered “high earners” which drags the median figure down.

Yet these Melbourne and Sydney rich spots are positively povo compared to Australia’s richest local government area. In terms of the sheer number of people earning a packet, that was Ashburton in Western Australia. Not heard of it? It’s situated in the far north west of Western Australian covering a chunk of the Pilbara mining region.

The median income for the Shire of Ashburton’s mere 13,000 residents, is $101,000. Tom Price and Paraburdoo, the area’s two main towns, are centres for the mining industry.

The relative equality of high wages in these areas pushes up the median income. And while low income earners exists, they are heavily outnumbered.

It’s a similar picture in Queensland where the remote Cape York town of Weipa tops the list with incomes of $81,000 annually. It’s the site of the world’s largest bauxite mine.

In South Australia, residents of the desert oasis of Roxby Downs, close to the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mines, earn the most.

Research in 2017 by employment website Seek found Australia’s mining states were all seeing average advertised salaries increase faster than the national average due to a rebound in commodity prices. In WA wages were up 3.7% per cent.

Despite passing the peak of the mining boom, it’s still a very lucrative industry to find yourself in. According to website Payscale, the median income from a miner in Australia is $106,000, more than double that of the average Australian.

The high wages in mining is because the profession needs specialised skills and people willing to spend time in some of Australia’s most inhospitable and remote neighbourhoods.

Employers are now worried that wages will head even higher as skill shortages bite due to a fall-off in people training to be miners and limits on hiring foreign workers.

“I’m less worried about the (salary) pressures than our actual ability to get workers of the calibre we require,” Northern Star Resources chief executive Stuart Tonkin told the West Australian last month.

Universities have said that as soon as a downturn occurs, applications to mining courses tend to drop. Because training and initial work experience can take four to seven years, the industry is then vulnerable if there is a sudden demand for workers.

South Canberra in the ACT, Palmerston in the Northern Territory and Hobart in Tasmania are their respective state or territory’s top earning areas.

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