When I was visiting Victoria, in Southern Australia last February, I was amazed at how expensive many things were. It just seemed onerous, like dinner entrees priced at $30 and glasses of wine for $12. It’s because the average Aussie salary is about $66,000 a year.
Then I heard that out in Perth, Western Australia, things were even more outrageous.When regular workers earn $200K a year, regular things in stores and in bars are going to cost a lot more.
A story in yesterday’s WSJ profiled Australian miner James Dinnison, a high school drop out who earns $800 a day boring holes deep underground in gold, tin and copper mines. He said he’s called a “CUB” or, a cashed-up Bogan, an Aussie term for an uneducated blue collar worker.
Despite earning more than a million bucks during his seven years underground, his savings totals zero, and he happily blows his massive paychecks every week on booze, motorcycles and and fun. Dinnison said he hopes to move to an even more lucrative job soon, which will bump his pay up to a staggering $1400 a day.
Despite their multimillion dollar payrolls, companies like BHP Billiton are still desperate for more workers. In Australia, the article said, many thousands more of these high priced workers are needed. And there is no shortage of cash to pay them: For the first half of this year, BHP posted a profit of $11.2 billion.