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Cottesloe featured in the nation's top 10 local government areas by median income.

Ashburton, Peppermint Grove nation's highest income locales

Western Australians still have higher median incomes than those in other states despite recent softening, according to data released today, with Ashburton and Peppermint Grove the nation’s top local government areas by the measure.

The median income for WA workers was $52,504 in the 2016 financial year, according to calculations by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

That was down slightly from a level of $52,989 in the year to June 2015.

WA's mean income, which uses the conventional metholodogy of finding an average, was $69,133 in 2016, but median is often used for comparisons on inequality because it is determined by ranking participants and hence removes the impact of extreme outliers.

The most recent median income figure was still 9 per cent higher than the next best-off state, NSW, although the two territories (ACT and the NT) ranked above all states.

National median income was $47,692 in the 2016 financial year.

Income inequality for WA was also very slightly below the national level, according to ABS calculations.

The data drills right down to the local government areas, with the Pilbara Shire of Ashburton the nation’s richest.

It had median personal income of $100,665, dropping from $105,009 in the year to June 2015.

Ashburton also had the 11th best score for economic equality, out of more than 500 local government areas.

The leafy green western suburbs locale of Peppermint Grove had the second strongest incomes, with a median of $89,795, while Port Hedland featured third and Karratha in fifth place.

East Pilbara and Cottesloe also featured in the top 10 local government areas.

Port Hedland, East Pilbara, Karratha and Ashburton all had lower median incomes than the prior year, while Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove both lifted.

Interestingly, the data shows a very slightly negative correlation between median incomes across local government areas and inequality.

UnionsWA secretary Meredith Hammat said median incomes had fallen 0.9 per cent in the state in the six years to 2016, while rising 1.8 per cent nationally.

“While personal incomes in the ACT are higher, WA has the highest median personal income of all states of Australia at $52,502 per annum in 2015-16.

“Among the WA local government areas with the highest median personal income, many people rely on FIFO resource sector work," she said.

“These jobs are often harmful to health and wellbeing because of long and unsociable hours in sometimes dangerous work.

“Peppermint Grove in Perth’s affluent western suburbs has the second highest personal income in Australia.

“These findings highlight the need to address inequalities and the importance of a more diverse economy across WA based on decent, skilled jobs.”

Despite an ongoing debate about economic inequality dominating national politics, economic inequality slightly improved over the period.

But interpretation of the data should come with some caution as it is calculated from pre-tax income and ignores other factors like superannuation income.

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Total revenue

26th↓City of South Perth$53.2m
27th-City of Vincent$51.6m
28th↓Shire of Ashburton$50.5m
29th↓Town of Port Hedland$49.5m
30th↓Shire of Mundaring$46.6m
140 local governments ranked by total revenue

Number of Employees

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