Shaky prosperity

FREMANTLE residents earn more than people elsewhere across metropolitan Perth but their jobs are more vulnerable.

That’s the finding of a study by the lobby group Committee for Perth.

The study reveals Freo residents earn on average $216 more: a quarter of East Freo residents do even better, pulling in $1500 a week ($278 more than the average).

“What’s interesting, is that in 2011 when these figures were taken the unemployment rate in Greater Fremantle was higher than in the Perth and Peel area,” says CFP chief Marion Fulker.

“Those that were working though, were earning substantially more than most.”

Ms Faulker says the data suggests Fremantle was more susceptible to the global financial crisis and mining sector wobbles—something borne out anecdotally by the city’s retail doldrums.

“From 2012 to 2013, when the mining boom started to cool off, there was a sharp drop in jobs growth that wasn’t reflected in Perth and Peel,” Ms Fulker says.

“What this suggests is that there may be a degree of employment vulnerability in Greater Fremantle, particularly when there are large economic shocks.

“There’s also the issue of Greater Fremantle’s ageing population: there’s been a significant rise in the number of people heading towards retirement and a drop in working youths.”

The number of people aged over 65 in inner Fremantle rose roughly three per cent between 2001 and 2011.

At the same time the number of children aged under 14 nearly halved, from 7.3 to 3.9 per cent.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt believes the next spurt of development might be in high-rise retirement villages.

He says it’s too early to release much information but there’s been some interest from developers keen to emulate the success of the RAAFA village in Bull Creek.

A lack of large greenfield sites has locked Fremantle out of the growing sector in the past but the mayor says the council’s desire to increase CBD densities by going up makes it an option.

“We want people who have grown up in Fremantle to be able to stay here for the rest of their lives,” Dr Pettitt says.


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