Kash Stone, 20, has found life difficult financially at times, despite earning a middle level income.
Kash Stone, 20, has found life difficult financially at times, despite earning a middle level income. Megan McEwan

Income levels show city's great divide as high earners soar

SOME Gladstone residents are streets ahead when it comes to wage levels, but the city still has a sizeable proportion of people living on the lowest wage.

A comparison of incomes levels between Gladstone and the rest of the state shows the city has a larger group of people earning a high income (over $1500 a week).

Overall, 21% of the Gladstone population earnt a high income compared to 10.4% for regional Queensland, while 32% earned a low income (less than $200 a week) compared with 35.6%.

A company of population experts called .id used Census data to create profiles of areas around Australia.

Information from the first release of the 2011 Census data was used to understand the region's individual gross income levels of people aged 15 years and over.

The most significant change in the Gladstone area between 2006 and 2011 was in the highest income group, which showed an increase of 3276 persons.

Income is linked to factors including employment, age and qualifications, but wages can also fluctuate to meet the needs of an industry or region.

The Observer has previously reported Gladstone has battled high rents due to the influx of industry wages, with the middle-income group struggling.

Twenty-year-old Gladstone man Kash Stone is not rolling in the money, as his name might suggest.

The sales consultant is someone who could be considered a middle-income earner in the Gladstone area, and he said the increased number of high-income and low-income earners compared to the rest of regional Queensland was a result of the resources boom.

"Everyone was on a level playing field with the rest of Queensland before the boom, and whoever wasn't in industry was left behind," he said.

Kash said as a middle-income earner he had a hard time financially last year while living alone and paying $270 a week in rent.

"I was originally in a unit," he said.

"It was way too much for a little one-bedroom place."

Mr Stone said his friends had secured high-paying jobs through persistence.

The figures:

2011 Gladstone Regional Council area weekly individual incomes compared to regional Queensland

  • 11% earned $2000 or more compared to 4.8%
  • 10% earned $1500-$1999 compared to 5.6%
  • 6.4% earned $1250-$1499 compared to 5%
  • 7.9% earned negative income or nil income compared to 7%