News State Western Australia News WA boom widened wealth gap: report

WA boom widened wealth gap: report

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The gap between the richest and poorest households in Western Australia widened during the resources boom, when the state’s total wealth stock ballooned by about $270 billion, according to a new report.

The Sharing the Boom report released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) at Curtin University on Wednesday showed there was a rise in both income and wealth inequality in the state between 2003 and 2011.

The richest 10 per cent of households had about 3.8 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent of households in 2003/04. This climbed to 4.8 times in 2009/10 before falling slightly to 4.5 in 2011/12.

“The lowest income households in the state are falling further behind, increasing the gap between the poorest families and everyone else,” BCEC director Alan Duncan said.

“There have been real gains among the lowest income households, but the report shows they haven’t been able to share in the benefits of the boom to the same degree as higher earners, financially at least.”

The report also showed high income households in WA are twice as likely to be headed by a tradesman as those in the rest of Australia.

One fifth of the highest income households in WA in 2011/12 were headed by a person whose highest level of education was trade certification, compared with 16 per cent in the rest of the nation.

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