Census reveals income gap

Cecilia AllenSouth Western Times

Bunbury residents earn less money per week than residents in the shires of Dardanup, Capel and Harvey.

The 2016 Census revealed the City of Bunbury’s median weekly personal income was $632, while the median personal income across the shires of Dardanup, Capel and Harvey was $670, $716 and $662 respectively.

Mayor Gary Brennan told the Bunbury Herald the statistic was a concern.

“It’s a good indicator of community affordability to absorb rate increases beyond what’s reasonable,” Mr Brennan said.

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“The city resolved to increase fees and charges by a very modest 1.3 per cent a few meetings ago and that to me was a very responsible decision of council that reflected that times are tough, competition’s high.

“They’re the things I look at – I don’t have people giving me subjective comments.

“I want objective research and that research tells me quite clearly that the household income on average in Bunbury is lower than the surrounding councils, by a long way.”

The median personal income for Western Australia is $724 and nationally it is $662.

According to the census, 33.9 per cent of Bunbury’s population responded to having no religion, an increase of 6.6 per cent since the last census.

Catholic Diocese of Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan said he was concerned by the increasing number of people who did not have a religion.

“We have to look at the overall pattern and the decline of social integration,” he said.

“Religion is about peace and harmony and when people lose that they can lose their sense of direction.

“As a result people seek out other escapes such as drug addiction, gambling or resort to violence which can lead to a breakdown in family.”

The census also revealed across the four local governments 73.1 per cent of people were born in Australia, while the other most common countries of birth were England 5.7 per cent, New Zealand 3.1 per cent, South Africa 1.6 per cent, Philippines 1.2 per cent and Italy 0.6 per cent.

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