WA is more multicultural than NSW, Victoria and South Australia, a new report shows.
The FACTBase report, a joint venture between The University of Western Australia and thinktank Committee for Perth, looked at changes in ethnic diversity in the four States between 2001 and 2011.
In 2011, WA had the highest proportion of overseas-born residents at 30.6 per cent, compared with 26.3 per cent in Victoria and 25.7 per cent in NSW.
Committee for Perth chief executive Marion Fulker said that while Sydney and Melbourne had much larger populations and might seem more diverse than the WA capital, figures showed that was not the case.
Yet Perth had largely avoided incidents where tensions between rival groups reached a “flash point” such as the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney and attacks on Indian taxi drivers in Melbourne in 2010.
“It seems that migrant groups are currently choosing to live throughout the metropolitan area without feeling the need to just live in a single suburb, and this is good for Perth,” she said.
“The big challenge for Perth as it grows is that it needs to continue to adapt to a changing population base of increased racial and ethnic diversity.
“This includes everything from having places for cultural engagement and celebration, places of worship and diverse housing stock that caters to the needs of all.”
Migrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and the United States accounted for almost 15 per cent of WA’s total population, with UK expats making up the majority.
The figure was more than double the immigrant ratios seen in Victoria and NSW, and much higher than the national figure of 8.1 per cent.