FORDS are a more common sight than Ferraris in Portland’s main street but that has not stopped the city being declared the south-west’s most cashed-up location.
Statistics recently released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have revealed the mean taxable income for Portland was $53,072 for the 2009-10 financial year.
Allansford and Mepunga closely followed the harbour city on $51,217, with Port Fairy at $51,199, Peterborough on $50,849 and Port Campbell at $50,336, rounding off a list of money-making coastal areas.
Glenelg Shire mayor Gilbert Wilson said Portland had one of the strongest manufacturing bases in the region but also held an above-average unemployment rate.
The Portland resident said Portland Aluminium, turbine producer Keppel Prince and associated businesses were generous employers and were the core of the city’s economy.
“It’s a little puzzling that we hold the region’s highest average income but also have a consistently high unemployment rate compared to the rest of the Western District,” Cr Wilson said.
“We’re lucky in Portland to have a large number of employers which pay well above the average wage.
“The Port of Portland is key to all those manufacturing businesses working in lock-step, so location is also an important factor.”
Warrnambool scored a mean taxable income of $49,450 with its residents generating roughly $633 million, $118 million of which was handed over to Canberra bean counters in net tax.
The south-west generated more than $1.9 billion in overall income during the 2009-10 financial year, with rural locales Scotts Creek, Merino and Tahara falling to the bottom rungs of average salaries.
The data covers a range of information drawn from tax returns lodged with the tax office.
ATO statistics include the number of assessments lodged, total value of deductions, a town or suburb’s wages and salary total, work-related expenses, approved claims for gifts and donations and the total amount paid in welfare benefits.
Other mean taxable incomes in the south-west include: Yambuk/Narrawong — $49,303; Hamilton — $48,054; Koroit — $47,413; Camperdown — $46,680; Cobden/Simpson — $46,016; Terang — $45,833; Mortlake — $44,958 and Woolsthorpe — $42,913.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of average wages by profession were detailed by the tax office.
Surgeons remained the highest-paid professionals in 2009-10, reporting average taxable incomes that year of $332,800.
Apprentice hairdressers were among the lowest-paid, collecting $22,700.
Primary school teachers are moving up the scale earning $57,420, somewhat more than plumbers on $56,615.
Barmen and baristas earn less than cleaners, taking home $30,169 compared with $33,204.