Inequality in Australia going from bad to worse

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On Monday 18 June, The Australia Institute, Australia21 and the former Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan MP, are jointly hosting a roundtable discussion in Parliament House on dealing with economic inequality in Australia.

A new report from The Australia Institute, released as part of the Inequality Roundtable, shows inequality is getting worse in Australia with the income share of the top 10% growing at the expense of everyone else.

Analysis of data from the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the OECD shows the share of income going to the top-end of income earners is growing at the expense of middle and low income earners.

“Measures of inequality show that over the long run, inequality is getting worse,” said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at The Australia Institute.

“The economic data shows that the public has good reason to be concerned about inequality.

“Over the past 20 years only the top 10% of taxpayers are seeing their share of income rise.

“Unless economic conditions change dramatically, inequality will continue to be a problem. And unless there is policy action, inequality is likely to worsen.

The Roundtable, co-chaired by Wayne Swan and Australia21 Director Em Prof Bob Douglas, will include more than 30 experts, leaders and thinkers from diverse Australian institutions.

“The Roundtable will focus particularly on what changes are now needed to address the problem of inequality. We hope and expect politicians everywhere will pay serious attention to the report that will result from these expert discussions,” said Professor Douglas.

“The government and policymakers should be working to reduce inequality. Unfortunately, the government is doing the opposite. It is proposing income tax cuts that undermine the progressive nature of our income tax system,” said Matt Grudnoff.

“Inequality in Australia is getting worse faster than other developed countries. Our ranking among OECD countries has fallen. Australia used to be below average for inequality, now we’re above average and rising still.

“At a time when the government should be focused on reducing inequality, it is instead handing out a large income tax cut that will make inequality worse.” 

For media enquiries about the report or the roundtable:

>        The Australia Institute: Elise Dare – 0477 291 943

>        Australia21: Deborah Rice – 0414 746648

>        Wayne Swan: Daniel De Voss – 0403 775 158

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