Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne.
Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne. Renee Pilcher

Tax data not all that it seems

GYMPIE and the Mary Valley paid out $572million in wages and salaries in 2010-11, with an average salary of $35,786 confirming what everybody already knew - this is a low socio economic area.

But the flip side for those who live here is the lower cost of living, the affordable housing, the scenery and the convenience of a country lifestyle close to the coast and Brisbane.

The region's leaders yesterday warned against the imperfection of the data released by the Australian Tax Office as part of its 2013 edition of taxation statistics, which also showed that 1580 pensioners in the 4570 postcode received almost $14.7million in government payments that year and 2460 people on newstart, youth allowance and austudy received $12.9million.

Almost 300 Gympie people were terminated from their jobs, receiving payouts of almost $2million.

Chamber of Commerce president Ben Ellingsen said it was important not to read too much into the figures.

"The information disclosed in a taxpayer's tax return more often than not bears no resemblance to their actual cashflows," Mr Ellingsen said.

"This is particularly the case for those in business."

Mayor Ron Dyne said the figure was deceptive because it did not factor in the lower cost of living here.

"I know a lot of Mackay families (where the average wage is $58,000) who have sold their houses up there and moved to Gympie for the affording lifestyle and real estate."

Member for Gympie David Gibson quoted WC Fields:

" 'A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money,' so to judge our region simply on ATO data misses the subtleties that make living in our part of Queensland great," he said.

"Our wealth is not found in local pay packets but in the quality of life we enjoy in our region.

"There are many parents who choose not to do paid work so they are there for their children, or individuals who give of their time in volunteering in local organisations to benefit our community and all of this goes unrecorded by the ATO.

"What we do know is our region is a wonderful place to live, with great people and good services.

"We may not holiday in the Maldives or eat imported caviar but then why would we with Rainbow Beach on our doorstep and Nolan's meat in our fridges?"


At a glance

Average incomes in the Gympie region (compared to some other areas) as determined by the ATO for 2010-11:

  • Gympie - $35,786
  • Tin Can Bay - $31,114
  • Rainbow Beach - $33,549
  • Kilkivan - $31,850
  • Tiaro - $37,640
  • Hamilton Bris - $92,662