Boom delivers pay bonanza to mining states

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The mining boom has driven Western Australia to the top of the pay scales, with male workers in the boom state earning $335 a week more than their NSW counterparts.

For more than a year now Western Australia has been the highest earning state or territory, with mining workers by far the highest paid.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures full-time men in the mining industry take home on average $120,000 a year, while full-time women take home $91,000.

Despite the large gap between male pay in WA and NSW, margins between female workers have changed little, pointing to the male-dominated nature of mining.

Outside mining, the worst-paying industries were retail sales and accommodation and food services, paying men and women $51,100 on average.

Over the past year the fastest-growing wages were in wholesale trade, up 11.9 per cent, and health care and social assistance, up 6.9 per cent.

The ABS figures appeared to show the wage gap between male and female workers opening to a 25-year high.

But Melbourne Institute labour specialist Mark Wooden told The Sydney Morning Herald the gap could reflect changes in the workforce rather than changes in wages specifically.

Overall wages in the September quarter rose slightly less than the market was expecting, with the gain of 0.7 per cent slightly lower than the forecast 0.9 per cent.

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