Australia’s rich keep getting richer, with the top 1 per cent having more than double the wealth of the entire bottom 50 per cent – or more than 12.5 million people – according to Oxfam. Source: ABC News.
By Nassim Khadem, ABC News
Oxfam’s annual list highlighting inequality has found the number of billionaires in Australia decreased from 43 in 2018 to 36 in 2019, but that the number has more than tripled over the past 10 years and the value of their wealth is increasing.
The report, released ahead of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, found that the wealth of Australian billionaires, who are mostly men, grew by an average of $US460 million from 2018 to 2019.
Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgain said the top 1 per cent of Australians, just 250,000 people, owned nearly $US1.6 trillion – equating to 22.2 per cent of the nation’s wealth.
“This concentration of wealth in the hands of the super-rich is occurring while the share of wealth of the bottom half of our community has decreased over the last decade and workers’ wages continue to stagnate in Australia,” she said.
The world’s billionaires, 2,153 people in 2019, have more wealth between them than 4.6 billion people. The report found the richest 22 men in the world own more wealth than all the women in Africa.
At a global level, inequality was “often affecting women and girls the most”, Ms Morgain said. “This is not fair or sustainable.”
She said Oxfam had calculated that developing countries lose an estimated $US100 billion a year in tax revenue as a result of tax avoidance by multinational corporations.
“Given the state of inequality in Australia and abroad, and the context of worsening climate-related disasters, such as the bushfires, the Australian Government must ensure that multinational corporations are paying their fair share of tax,” she said.
“This would boost public funding to allow it to provide better services to all Australians and better respond to disasters, both here and across the world.”