Australia’s wealth gap has continued to grow over the past two decades, with superannuation and property investment driving inequality across the country, a new report has revealed. Source: The Guardian.
Over the past two decades the average wealth of the top 20 per cent has grown at four times the rate of the lowest, the report from the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of New South Wales has shown using figures from the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data in 2019.
Australia’s wealthiest 20 per cent were worth an average of $3.2 million in 2019 – six times the amount of the middle 20 per cent, who were worth an average of $588,000, and 90 times that of the lowest 20 per cent.
The wealthiest 5 per cent were worth an average of $6.7m, holding one-third of the country’s wealth.
UNSW researcher Carla Treloar said the report showed while income inequality has remained relatively steady, wealth inequality has increased over the past 20 years.
Professor Treloar said the trend could be reversed “through more affordable housing and a fairer tax and superannuation system”.
Superannuation was the largest contributor to an overall increase in wealth over the two decades to 2019, with average contributions growing by 155 per cent between 2003 and 2022 from $92,000 to $234,000.
The wealthiest 20 per cent of Australians received 80 per cent of their income from wages, which averaged $4660 per week before tax, and 15 per cent from investments, which averaged $855 per week.
Those in the bottom 20 per cent relied on an average of $419 each week in social security payments for 50 per cent of their income and $318 per week in wages for another 38 per cent.
ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie joined other advocates in calling for the government to remove policies that spur wealth inequality.
Australia’s wealthiest 20 per cent worth 90 times the country’s poorest, new report reveals (By Cait Kelly, The Guardian)