Economic inequality getting worse in Australia

Issue 
Relative poverty in Australia — despite being cushioned from the worst of the financial crisis — sits at 14.4%.

More than five years since the global financial crisis, many OECD countries are still facing high rates of unemployment, losses in income and worsening social conditions. This was confirmed in the latest OECD social indicators report, Society at a Glance 2014, released on March 19.

The reports says: "The financial upheaval of 2007-08 created not just an economic and fiscal crisis but also a social crisis ... Some 48 million people in OECD countries are looking for a job – 15 million more than in September 2007 – and millions more are in financial distress.

“The numbers living in households without any income from work have doubled in Greece, Ireland and Spain. Low-income groups have been hit hardest as have young people and families with children."

According to the report, relative poverty in Australia — despite being cushioned from the worst of the financial crisis — sits at 14.4%. This is higher than the OECD average of 11.3%. It also says child poverty in Australia rose between 2007-2010.

The report also notes that 10% of Australians reported in 2011/12 that they could not afford to buy enough food, a rise over previous years (up from 8.8% in 2006/7).

Australia is a wealthy country, but the levels of social and economic inequality are worsening, thanks to the policies of successive governments which rule on behalf of a rich minority.

Attacks on single parents, cuts to social spending, the lack of affordable, public housing and the growth in insecure employment are the results.

Meanwhile gross displays of personal wealth by the richest families and corporate elites are celebrated in the pages of the mainstream media, and the likes of Gina Rinehart and company make no apologies for telling the rest of us to spend less and work harder.

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