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Mine towns top wages

WHY are Kalgoorlie and Pilbara residents some of the hardest workers in Australia?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Census of Population and Housing, it may have something to do with pay rates.

Pilbara men top both the urban and rural Australian average weekly incomes, with an average weekly income of $1,066.

While men from Kalgoorlie and the surrounding district were behind Pilbarians, they featured at second spot on the Australian average rural income list taking home about $688 a week.

Despite being dwarfed by their male counterparts in the salary stakes, earning on average $325 per week, Pilbara women had the second highest women’s rural income in Australia behind Darwin. 

The South Canberra district had the highest average male and female urban income of $787 per week and $515 per week respectively.

But while the residents from two of Western Australia’s most successful mining regions have some of the highest income levels in Australia, according to the 2001 census they are also some of Australia’s hardest workers.

Kalgoorlie tops Australia with the largest section of its population working more than 50 hours a week.

More than 35 per cent of residents from Kalgoorlie and the surrounding district work more than 50 hours a week.

The Pilbara region is second only to the Australian Capital Territory’s Gungahlin-Hall district in terms of the percentage of residents participating in the work force.

A total of 77.3 per cent of the Pilbara’s population participate in the workforce with 85.5 per cent of males and 67 per cent of females working.

There is also a very low unemployment rate in the Pilbara.

Kalgoorlie Mayor Ron Yuryevich puts the regions’ high pay rates and work ethic down to the structure of the region’s biggest industry – mining.

He said the 12-hour shifts combined with the increase of fly-in fly-out work had employees working long shifts for big bucks.

“When they come here they are here to work and not hang around,” Mr Yuryevich said.

“They work long shifts, make a few dollars and then get out.”

Mr Yuryevich said the town was working hard to attract people on a more permanent basis.

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