By Edin Imsirovic
One of the most isolated cities in Australia — Perth is closer to Jakarta than to Sydney — the state capital of Western Australia offers a laid-back lifestyle by the Indian Ocean.
Western Australia is a global centre for oil and gas, with 900 companies based in Perth. As the world begins to switch to cleaner fuels in response to the global climate crisis, the area’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) reserves have become a major attraction for the industry, with companies trying to secure $50bn in finance for extraction and processing projects, as of May last year, according to research by Wood Mackenzie. Australia surpassed Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of LNG last year.
Perth has five operating LNG sites: North West Shelf, Pluto, Gorgon, Wheatstone and Prelude. The Curtin University Oil and Gas Innovation Centre is a hub for energy sector research, while Chevron, Shell and GE Oil & Gas have research and development centres in the city.
The mining industry accounted for more than a third of Australia’s GDP growth in the year to September 2019 and Western Australia is the largest iron ore supplier in the world, producing 38 per cent of global supply last year. The sector in Western Australia will need an additional 10,679 on-site employees by 2024, to work on A$41bn ($27bn) worth of projects, according to industry body the Australian Mines and Metals Association (Amma). The vacancies will include production managers, engineers and geologists, all of which are on Australia’s skilled migration occupation list.
Expats who take jobs in Perth may find themselves in familiar company: 35 per cent of Western Australia’s residents come from overseas (the highest proportion of foreigners for any state in the country), many of them from the UK.
More bang for your buck
Perth has lower house prices than Australia’s other state capitals, bar Tasmania’s Hobart, with a median price of A$537,013 in December 2019, according to online property portal Domain. The average Australian house price was A$809,349 over the same period. At the same time, residents of Western Australia are paid the country’s second highest salaries, earning an average A$92,700 in November 2019.
Popular neighbourhoods in the city include South Perth and Applecross due to their proximity to the Swan River. Sotheby’s International Realty is marketing a three-bedroom family home in South Perth, which has a second-floor living room enjoying views of the water, for A$5m.
Perth is one of the windiest cities in the world, making it popular with surfers and sailors. Scarborough Beach, a 15-minute drive from the city centre, is home to Scarborough Beach Surf School, which claims to be the oldest in the world. The Swan River is a popular place for sailing and includes the Royal Perth Yacht Club in the suburb of Crawley. The club won the America’s Cup in 1983, after the US had held the title for 132 years.
Flora and fauna
The World Wide Fund for Nature has suggested that Perth may be the wildlife capital of the world, with more than 2,100 plant, 15 amphibian, 156 native bird and 71 reptile species. The 400-hectare Kings Park & Botanic Garden, which overlooks the Swan River and Central Business District, is home to more than 324 native plant species and 80 bird species including galahs and rainbow lorikeets. The protected nature reserve of Rottnest Island, a 25-minute ferry ride from Perth, is known for quokkas, small marsupials that are native to Rottnest and the surrounding islands.
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Photographs: Bloomberg; Dreamstime; Getty Images