Published by The Sunday Times, 12 April 2015 by Peter Law @
Perth recorded the biggest unemployment rise of any major Australian capital city last year, with limited public transport in battler suburbs partly blamed.
The number out of work in the northeast suburb of Girrawheen soared almost 50 per cent in 2014 – one of the biggest increases anywhere in Australia.
The suburb’s population has boomed over the past five years, but suffers from poor public transport connections to work centres, according to local leaders.
In the 12 months to December 2014, the number of Girrawheen residents unemployed increased from 12.2 per cent to 17.9 per cent.
Neighbouring Balga and Mirrabooka had Perth’s worst jobless rate, rising from 14.4 per cent to 18.9 per cent, according to the Employment Department’s Small Area Labour Markets report.
Big rises were also recorded in Armadale-Brookdale (16.7 per cent unemployment rate) Gosnells (12.1 per cent), Marangaroo (8.8 per cent) and Yanchep (7.8 per cent).
Unemployment across Perth increased 23.5 per cent over the year, compared with Brisbane (13.5 per cent), Melbourne (12.7 per cent) and Adelaide (4.9 per cent), while Sydney recorded a 1.7 per cent drop.
The figures came after WA iron ore miner Atlas Iron announced it would suspend all mining operations because of plunging iron ore prices, with more than 500 people expected to lose their jobs.
Yesterday, Australia’s richest woman, WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart, warned Australia could experience a shocking deterioration in living standards as debt levels approached unchartered territory and commodity prices crashed.
Out of Perth’s labour force of 1.12 million people, the number of unemployed rose from 47,500 people to 58,700.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said Perth’s unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent was still the nation’s equal lowest and well below the national average of 6.2 per cent.
Professor Alan Duncan, director of the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, said joblessness was rising faster in parts of Perth already with high unemployment.