The Perth suburbs where people rushed to withdraw super during COVID

People across some of Perth’s poorest suburbs and some of its fastest growing areas depleted their superannuation retirement savings to get through COVID.

The highest rate in the state was in Alkimos at more than one in three. In adjoining Yanchep, the access rate was 32 per cent while at Two Rocks it edged down slightly to 28 per cent.

The area had unemployment rates of under 8.3 per cent going into COVID.

To qualify, a person had to be eligible to receive JobSeeker, have been made redundant, had their work hours cut by at least 20 per cent, or be a sole trader whose business had been shut or suffered a 20 per cent fall in turnover.

Closer to the city centre, about a third of working residents in Girrawheen and Balga tapped their super. In these two suburbs, the unemployment remained close to 20 per cent throughout the first six months of the pandemic.

There was also a hotspot around the Paremlia (32 per cent), Bertram (31 per cent) and Calista (32 per cent) area.

Of the 100 areas with the highest proportion of working age people using their super in 2020, 11 of them were in WA.

Across Australia people used the money to gamble, buy furniture and takeaway meals.

Up to a quarter of applicants emptied their accounts within days of the program’s start.

Outside of Perth, the highest access rates were in the Kimberley. In both the Derby-West Kimberley and Halls Creek areas, almost a third of working residents used the system. The adjoining area of Roebuck, including Broome, had an access rate of 30 per cent.

Perth’s western suburbs had the lowest access rates, along with some of the lowest jobless rates in the state.

The lowest in WA was the Nedlands area where just 5.7 per cent of the population used their super. Other low rates were recorded in Floreat (5.9 per cent), City Beach (6.4 per cent) and Swanbourne (6.4 per cent).

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