In 2021, I decided to poll 10 WA residents: 9/10 answered the question I posed to them incorrectly.

That showed me that many of the locals did not know those simple, yet important, facts and made me think… What are the chances of a newly arriving immigrant or someone relocating from another state to WA knowing any of it ? My guess? Slim at best.

GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS WITHIN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia (WA)

Perth and Peel

Perth and Peel

Knowing the name of the geographical area of where you live showcased its importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the first waves of COVID-19 transmission in Western Australia, parts of the state were put in lockdowns based on the geographical areas above . At the time, I felt that many people would be confused what rules applied to them. As I was monitoring the comments under a Facebook post by the state government, my inclination proved accurate. Later on, the state government also realised that and started publishing announcements with a map of the area/s.

Why and when is this important to know?
Looking for a job in regional / remote Western Australia (anything outside Perth and Peel)

When looking for a regional / remote job, often the search criteria for location on those specialist websites is published as a combination of geographical areas + the name of the largest town in that area.

Weather events and forecasts

Different geographical areas are prone to different types of serious but rare natural events. One of the areas that sees cyclones (a.k.a hurricanes) is the Pilbara. Locals to the area know what to do when those events happen. However, if you are new to the place you may not know what to do when a cyclone hits. I highly advice you to find that information on the relevant government website. Alternatively, I can help you find that information through our ‘Let’s have a chat’ service.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS (LGAs)

Within each geographical area, there can be one / two LGAs or multiple, depending on where the LGAs are located.

LGAs in Perth and Peel

Example: One LGA -City of Kalamunda – in the Perth geographical area

City of Kalamunda

Most often, multiple smaller suburbs of Perth form one LGA. An example is the High Wycombe suburb in the east part of Perth, near the airport. High Wycombe is part of the LGA of City of Kalamunda, together with the suburb of Kalamunda and a few others.

LGAs outside of the Perth and Peel areas

Example: LGAs located in the Great Southern geographical area

Great Southern

Anything city or town outside of the Perth and Peel geographical area is a regional or remote Western Australia city / town. As such, any LGA outside of Perth and Peel is a regional / remote LGA. Because those places have smaller populations, they are constructed on a ‘by town’ rather than on a ‘by suburb’ basis.

Multiple towns forming one LGA: a prime example of that is far north Western Australia – the Pilbara.

One town, one LGA: The Great Southern area is more populated than the far north of WA, therefore, most often you would see one town forming one LGA. Good examples are Kojonup and Katanning LGAs. The towns are a half hour drive of each other but each has enough population to form a separate LGA.

Two / Three towns, one LGA: The Great Southern area is also a great example of that. The town of Broomehill and the town of Tambellup are quite small and form one LGA – Broomehill-Tambellup.

The name of the LGA does not necessarily reflect the name of a town or suburb: Most names of LGAs reflect the name of the largest town (or suburb) in that area. However, to make matters more complicated, that is not always the case. Such example is found again in the Great Southern geographical area – the LGA of Plantagenet. No town there goes under the name of Plantagenet and their largest town is Mouth Barker. Your guess about where the name of Plantagenet as an LGA name came from is as good as mine.

Why is this important to know?
Public Health (COVID-19)

Lockdowns based on LGAs are happening. However, up until now, that has happened in other states of Australia and not in WA.

Rules, Costs, Schools… and much more

The examples and differences too many but I would explain some of the main ones.

Schools:

If you want to enrol your children in a public school (free) rather than a private one (paid), then you would most likely have to choose between the schools in your LGA (or suburb). For example, you may not be allowed to live in the suburb of Joondalup and enrol your child in a public school in Subiaco. Some schools are ranked higher than others which drives families to buy / rent a house within a certain suburb / LGA to meet to meet eligibility requirements. This pushes the house prices (or rents) in those areas higher than the average for the town / area.

Costs:

How much council rates you pay would depend on the LGA your house falls under; Owners usually pay the property rates so if you rent this may not apply to you.

Waste collection:

Every LGA has different days / times for household waste collection. They also have different rules on disposing of hazardous / poisonous / large waste. For example paint, certain chemicals or couches – some LGAs may collect it for you a few times a year by booking the service, some might require you to dispose of it yourself at a special tip station.

Other rules:

Different LGAs have different rules on running a home business or if you want to open a business in their LGA (a coffee shop, for example); Certain improvements / add ons to your house might need planning permission; Rules on owning pets or if you can use a woodfire heater in your house can vary greatly as well.

Community Programs:

As a former Community Development Officer for a local government, I cannot miss mentioning the community development programs. Almost every LGA, metropolitan or regional / remote runs various free or low cost programs for local residents. Many of them are fun – such as festivals, others are practical – such as programs for newly arrived people. Some local governments even offer free or low cost small business support programs! Usually, anyone can participate in those LGA programs but specific programs are designed for the residents of that LGA.

Pro tip: Do I live in a good LGA area? A big clue about how good a LGA is found in the type and number of programs they run, compared to neighbouring LGAs.

THE STATE: Western Australia (WA)

I purposely saved the best for last. As an European, I find the rules and culture differences between different states in Australia absolutely phenomenal and mind-blowing.

Remember in the beginning of the article when I mentioned I did a short poll where 9/10 local WA people answered incorrectly? It was a crucial but simple question on free healthcare** in Australia. I asked people if they believe free medical coverage varies based on where in Australia you live (state or region). Most people said they believe free medical coverage does not change based on state… and 9 / 10 were wrong about it.

When I showed them the below articles, most people’s honest reaction was ‘What the hell?!!’. Those articles walk you through the difference of ambulance cover depending on which state of Australia you are normally resident in. ‘Ambulance cover explained’ is a short and simple explanation; ‘How does Ambulance cover work in Australia’ breaks down in detail the differences.

‘Ambulance cover explained’ ***

How does Ambulance cover work in Australia? ***

How we can help:

The above articles, are prime examples of why ELETURIEN exists. Those differences between states / areas / LGA’s are important to know. Assuming Australia is all the same can be very costly. Also, if you do not know there are any differences you would not think to ‘just Google’ it. My job is to pinpoint those differences and spare you money (and stress) in the long term. Click on Let’s have a Chat’ to find how we can help.

If you want to book our ‘Let’s have a Chat’ service, please send an email to: [email protected] or contact me through ELETURIEN’s social media channels.

Author: Alex, Founder of ELETURIEN

* The information in this article is general in nature and does not constitute professional or other type of advice

** Free health coverage can also depend on your immigration status.

*** ELETURIEN does not accept payments to promote or endorse any third party in this article; we are also not associated in any way with the above entities. We have provided the above links to resources that Alex has assessed as simple and very well explained.

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