Oxfam Highlights Extreme Wealth Inequality In Australia

wealth inequality

The two wealthiest people in Australia, Harry Triguboff and Gina Rinehart own more assets than the country’s 20 per cent poorest people according to research from Oxfam Australia. Mr Triguboff and Ms Rinehart are worth a combined A$21.5 billion easily placing them in the wealthiest one per cent of Australia who when put together have more wealth then the bottom 70 per cent.

Global report

The statistics were part of a global report titled ‘An Economy For The 99 per cent’, whose release was timed to coincide as the global elite gathered for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month. Dr Helen Szoke Oxfam Australia’s chief executive says the gap between Australia’s rich and poor reflects a global trend. Dr Szoke adds that the scale of the crisis in global wealth inequality is far greater than what was feared.

Concentration of wealth

The world’s eight richest people, a list which include Bill Gates who founded Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg who runs Facebook, own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population or roughly 3.6 billion people. Dr Szoke says that the world’s eight richest people have a combined net worth of US$426 billion. This extreme divide between rich and poor runs the risk of producing political crisis for future generations and undermining democratic institutions whilst also creating economic upheaval.

More transparency needed

Dr Szoke says that whilst the world’s wealthiest people are often the most generous, so much wealth concentrated in the hands of just eight people illustrates just how broken the economic system really is. Dr Szoke is calling on the Australian government to establish tougher laws that force multinational companies based in Australia to publicly report income and profits they earn in every jurisdiction they operate in. Dr Szoke says it is critical that Australia ends the extreme concentration of wealth.

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