Miners are making WA rich, but Canberra’s public servants earn more

Western Australia continues to dominate as the high wage state, largely driven by the mining boom and the resulting demand for workers across an array of industries.

Even when the miners staggering high wages are factored in, it is Canberra that has the nation’s highest average pay packets and they appear to be growing faster than anywhere else in the country.

The latest wage figures from the
 Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the average yearly ordinary time earnings in the nation’s capital currently sits at $85,545 a year.

That figure is $10,000 more than the national average pay packet which currently stands at $72,592.

“The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest annual movement in full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings, at 6.2 per cent. This was 0.4 of a percentage point higher than the next highest, New South Wales (5.8 per cent). The lowest annual movement was in the Northern Territory at 2.8 per cent,” the bureau said.

“The Australian Capital Territory has a high proportion of Public sector workers, who on average earn more than those in the Private sector.”

While annual average wages in Western Australia are relatively high at $82,711, it is those that work in the Mining sector that enjoy the highest average salary of any industry at $122,767. 

"The latest data on wages bears out what most households would be well versed with now – the Chinese industrialisation is leading to major shifts in our economy. Wages in the fast-growing mining sector are now almost 2½ times the earnings in food sectors like cafes and restaurants as well as across the retail sector," ComSec economist Savanth Sebastin said.

Those in the Finance & Insurance services enjoy the second best salaries with an annual average of $85,390 while those who work in Accommodation and Food Services earn the lowest at $51,626.


The ABS figures also highlight the troubling disparity in average wages between men and women.

“The gap between male and female earnings shows no signs of closing. On average men are earning $13,608 more per year than women,” Sebastin said.

“One key reason for the disparity is the rising demand for labour in male dominated sectors, such as mining and construction. Still there remains worrying wage disparities in other sectors as well that is clearly worthy of greater investigation.”

The latest inflation figures showed the consumer price index grew by 2.2 per cent in the year to December.

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