Streets paved with gold for mining towns’ top-paid workers

Median income can vary widely from state to state.

Median income can vary widely from state to state. Photo: TND

New jobs and income data has shown which regions are home to the highest pay packets in the country, with a Western Australian region taking out the top gong.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collected detailed jobs and income data for 2020-21 across almost 2500 regions and more than 500 industries across the country.

As capital cities felt the brunt of pandemic restrictions, jobs growth was strongest in regional areas.

“The two releases out today … provide the richest geographical insights into the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on labour markets and communities across Australia,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

“These releases are based on personal income tax data, meaning they’re incredibly comprehensive, even if they’re not as timely as the other statistics we produce.”

“This enables a much greater ability to explore and compare the pandemic-related impacts across regions, and to better understand which people and businesses were particularly impacted.”

(Hover over each state/territory in the map below to see the highest paying council area respectively.)

In New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, more than half of jobs growth between 2019-20 and 2020-21 was outside of the capital cities.

Victoria’s regional areas saw the steepest rise in jobs growth, rising from an average of 28 per cent over the previous five years to 63 per cent in the first year of the pandemic.

But it was the residents of Western Australian local government area (LGA) Ashburton that recorded the highest median total income in Australia at $105,655.

While the figure may seem surprising at first given Roxby Downs is more than 1000 km away from the state’s capital, the Ashburton LGA encompasses mining towns such as Tom Price and Paraburdoo.

The mining sector is known for offering large pay packets, which have also grown in the years since 2020.

Roxby Downs, a fellow mining town in South Australia, raked in the second-highest median total income in the country in 2020-21 at $103,653.

Affluent Perth suburb Peppermint Grove rounded out the top three, with residents earning a median total income of $96,684.

The total income figures included income from sources such as employee income, superannuation, investments and own unincorporated businesses.

In regards to income from jobs alone, the LGAs with the highest median employee income per job were Northern Territory’s Darwin Waterfront Precinct ($85,902), South Australia’s Roxby Downs ($81,980) and New South Wales’ North Sydney ($77,486).

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