Inequality on Steroids as Bottom 90% get just 7% of Economic Growth Since 2009

Inequality has been on steroids in Australia over the last decade with new data revealing the bottom 90% of Australians receive just 7% of economic growth per person since 2009, while the top 10% of income earners reap 93% of the benefits.

The data shows a radical reversal on the long term trend from the period between 1950-2009 in Australia.

Australia is a now global outlier in the maldistribution of gains from economic growth, falling behind the EU, US, UK, China and Canada.

The research will increase pressure on the Government to reconsider the Stage 3 tax cuts before the next election, which mostly benefit the top 10% of income earners.

Key Points:

  • Inequality in Australia is on steroids with low- and middle-income earners receiving virtually nothing from the nation’s real per adult economic growth, while the wealthiest reap almost all the benefits
  • Since the 2009 GFC to the beginning of the pandemic the bottom 90% receive less than 7% of real per adult economic growth, the top 10% pocketed 93%
  • This represents a radical reversal from recent Australian history where the bottom 90% got around 90% of the benefits
  • Internationally Australia is an outlier, falling behind the EU, US, UK, China and Canada on the unequal distribution of gains
  • Stagnating wages, insecure work, soaring profits and an unfair tax system mean many people are going backwards
  • About half of the stage 3 tax cuts will go to people earning more than $180,000 per year, while people earning $45,000 or less will get nothing

“This research shows that 90% of Australians are largely missing out on the benefits of economic growth,” said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at the Australia Institute.

“Society works best when we all feel like we have a stake in its success. While this analysis is shocking it has become increasingly clear that the Australian economy is not working for most people.

“From the 1950s to the 1980s Australia was considered the land of the fair go and we saw people benefiting more equally from economic growth. Today, that Australian dream has turned into an inequality nightmare with the maldistribution of economic gains fuelling the cost-of-living crisis for low-and middle-income Australians.

“The Stage 3 tax cuts, which see people earning over $180,000 receiving the lion’s share of benefits while minimum wage workers get nothing, will only make the inequality problem worse.

“Soaring energy prices have seen gas and electricity bills increase for average Australians, while super profits from Australia’s gas and coal go overseas. A super profits tax will help ensure all Australians can get their fair share.”

“Australians have a strong sense of fairness, and they know when they’re being ripped off or missing out on their fair share. And right now, Australians know they are missing out.”

*’Real per adult economic growth’ = economic growth per person, adjusted for inflation and population growth

Related research

General Enquiries

Tanya Martin Office Manager

02 6130 0530

Media Enquiries

Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser

0413 208 134

RSS Feed

Media Releases