Australia's shocking wealth gap: Low-income earners hit hardest

  • 9 months ago
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TRANSCORD TEXT Australia is the fourth richest country in the world, but there are still too many people left broke. The country has seen an increase in wealth inequality over past 20 years, with the least well-off being at short end. The average wealth of top 20 percent increased at four times the rate of bottom 20 percent. Scientia Professor Carla Treloar from the University of New South Wales says wealth inequality affects everyone. “National Evidence shows equality, more equal societies have better outcomes the things that really matter to us mental health, life expectancy, infant mortality, obesity outcomes in school, and everything else sets up for a healthy or bad life, so much to fix.” "A healthy society which we invest time, effort and money. Inequality is also important for economic growth. Inequality inhibits economic growth, when wealth power are concentrated in the hands of a few, it can undermine trust in government our social political stability." The Poverty Inequality Partnership the University of New South Wales published a report showing that between 2003 2022, the richest 5 20 increased their wealth by 86 82 respectively. This compares the middle percent, with a 61 percent increase in wealth, and the bottom 20 percent, only a percent increase. The study shows that inequality is driven primarily by retirement rising by 155 percent due to forced savings real estate investment. Cassandra Goldie is chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service . "Wealth begets wealth, that's the truth. And these aren't just coincidental events; they're because of policies implemented over the last 20 years, during a boom period of enormous wealth. Australia is one of richest countries in the world, but over last 20 years we've had to pay income support if you're unemployed in all these countries." "We're allowing it to be lowest in the OECD, and at same time we've delivered eye-watering tax cuts and tax breaks people who are real estate investors, or for people who are looking retirement." The Inequality in Australia 2023 report shows that the government's timely COVID-19 pandemic response has only temporarily reduced income inequality. Ms Treloar says income inequality has remained relatively constant, but wealth inequality has increased over time. She says plans need to be put in place to reduce inequality. “Income support payments during COVID lifted half a million people out of poverty almost overnight, which impacts individuals and of course children from families in Australia who have more resources for schooling and training for the activities we want all our children to be in. Unfortunately, with the end of these supports "We are seeing poverty rates and insecurities returning to pre-COVID levels, producing this inequality in wealth and income, as we see in the latest results." Ms Goldie says the situation can intensify divisions between generations, people from different backgrounds a