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Who are very low to moderate income earners?

People described as being on a very low income are those earning less than 50% of the NSW or Sydney median income, depending on where they live [1]. They include workers in a range of lower paid occupations, particularly in areas such as retail or manufacturing, as well as people earning the minimum wage [2] or who are on an aged or disability pension or other government benefit.

People earning more than 50% but less than 80% of the NSW or Sydney median income are described as earning a low income. They include many people working in jobs such as a child care worker, secretary or cleaner.

People described as being on a moderate income are those earning between 80-120% of the NSW or Sydney median income. They may include people working in occupations such as teaching, policing or nursing, particularly if they are in earlier stages of their careers [3].


[1] The 2011 ABS Census data found that the median income in Sydney is $1,444 per week ($75,088 per annum). For other parts of NSW it is $1233 ($64,116 per annum). These figures are updated each year.

[2] In 2012, Australia's minimum wage was $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week ($31, 512 per annum). Generally, employees in the national system shouldn't get less than this. (For more information, go to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.

[3] Income figures for various job types in this section are derived from gross average weekly total earnings for full-time non-managerial employees as reported in the 2010 ABS Employee, Earnings and Hours Cat no. 6306.