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Richest Aussies made $2,500 a second over past decade

Australian currency and a crowd of people walking to represent rich people.
Australia's richest people have seen their fortunes soar. (Source: AAP/Getty)

The richest 1 per cent of Aussies have accumulated more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent in the past decade, as cost-of-living pressures bite.

Oxfam’s Survival of the Richest report shows how extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years.

In fact, Australian billionaire wealth is 61 per cent higher than it was before the pandemic and there are 11 more billionaires today than there were in 2020.

Globally, the richest 1 per cent have made nearly twice as much money as the rest of the world put together over the past two years.

Oxfam Australia’s director of programs, Anthea Spinks, said the enormous gains seen by the world’s richest people were stark evidence of a broken system.

“While ordinary people in Australia and around the world are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams,” Spinks said.

“Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires — a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest.”

Oxfam is calling on the Australian Government to scrap the stage three tax cuts, and to instead implement a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich, including a wealth tax and a windfall tax on corporations.

Oxfam has calculated that a wealth tax of just 2 per cent on those with wealth above $7 million, 3 per cent with wealth above $67 million and 5 per cent on Australian billionaires alone would raise $29.1 billion annually.

This would be enough to increase the foreign aid budget by seven times, or dramatically reduce poverty in Australia by raising income-support payments to $88 a day for 1.44 million adults, building 36,000 social housing homes annually, and investing in grants to get millions of homes off gas - which could save households up to $1,900 on their energy bills each year.

“Decades of tax cuts for the richest people and corporations have fueled inequality at home and across the globe, with the poorest people paying higher tax rates than many high-flying CEOs and millionaires. Staggeringly, just 42 Australians now have a combined wealth of close to $236 billion,” Spinks said.

“Cutting taxes for high-income earners will make our system less fair, overwhelmingly benefiting the already wealthy and privileged while leaving behind everyday Australians battling with the cost-of-living crisis.”

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