The rich are getting richer.
Australia’s record number of billionaires raked in a collective $100 million a day last year.
This represents a staggering total increase of $36 billion in the wealth of just 43 people, according to a new Oxfam Australia briefing paper.
The number of Australian billionaires increased from 33 to 43 last year – and the top one per cent of Australians continued to own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent combined, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said.
“The wealth of Australia’s 43 billionaires, who are mostly men, climbed to almost $160 billion in total – and the $36 billion wealth increase of this privileged group in one year alone is enough to fund about half of the Australian Government’s total health budget this financial year.”
“At the same time, the wealth of the bottom half of our community has not changed and ordinary workers’ wage growth has remained stagnant.”
How to close the gap
The charity has called on the Federal Government for tax reform to close the growing gap between rich and poor Australians.
“The Government should introduce tougher tax laws that require large Australian companies – a third of which paid zero into the public coffers over four consecutive years – to publicly report on their tax affairs by country,” Szoke said.
“Australia is among the wealthiest nations in the world, yet the pervasive gap between the haves and the have-nots persists,” Dr Szoke said. “This inequality simply cannot – and does not need to – continue.”
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