Inequality in Australia: new ACOSS report finds “a nation divided”

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The richest 20 per cent now earn around five times as much as those in the bottom 20 per cent, according to a new report by the peak body of the community and social services sector, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).

The ACOSS report, titled Inequality in Australia: A Nation Divided, finds that, when compared to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), inequality in Australia is higher than the average.

While strong employment growth over the last few decades has seen real wages go up, on average, by 50 per cent, most of that has gone to the top 10 per cent. Australians in the top 20 per cent of wealth holders have 70 times the wealth that people in the bottom 20 per cent have, according to a report on Australia’s widening wealth inequality. 

The report finds that excessive inequality in any society is bad for the economy, undermines social cohesion and is harmful to the ability of people to participate in social and economic opportunities. It increases reliance on government intervention and is ultimately unhealthy for democracy.

An ACOSS factsheet on inequality highlights how Australia is faring when it comes to wealth and inequality.

Inequality in Australia: Watch the Video!