Oxfam: Australia’s deepening wealth gap

The Oxfam Growing Gulf Between Work and Wealth paper found Australian billionaires amassed $115.4 billion in the 2017 financial year, which is a 140 per cent jump since the global financial crisis. The wealth gap has widened to a 20-year high with Australia’s richest one per cent having more wealth than the combined bottom 70 per cent.

Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report has estimated the number of Australian millionaires will grow to 1.7 million in the next five years, an increase of 46 per cent.

Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia chief executive, said the inequality crisis is being fuelled by a broken economic system, which focuses on the wealth of the rich and powerful. The wealthiest groups in Australia are growing richer, while everyday Australians are struggling to get by.

Szoke continued on to say the wealth gap is greatly apparent in the clothing industry where the people making clothes for Australian brands are often paid poverty wages. Women making clothes in Bangladesh can take home as little $974 a year, while the companies' highest paid executives earn an average of $6 million a year.

Szoke is calling for clothing brand executives to ensure workers in their supply chain earn more and has published a step-by-step strategy outlining how to achieve this.

Szoke is also urging the Federal Government to end corporate tax cuts and introduce tougher tax transparency laws to require companies to report on income, taxes, and profits to the public for every country they operate in.

Oxfam has reported that 2017 saw the biggest increase in wealth in history, with one billion being created every two days.