The richest 1 per cent of Australians have pocketed more than $2500 a second – or $150,000 per minute – for 10 years straight, a shocking new report has revealed.
Analysis by Oxfam Australia found Aussie billionaires’ wealth has skyrocketed by 61 per cent more than it was before the Covid pandemic – and there are now 11 more billionaires compared to 2020.
It showed that in the Forbes’ Rich List there was an increase from 31 Australian billionaires in March 2020 to 42 in November 2022, including Mineral Resources founder Chris Ellison and Canva billionaires Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.
The findings, which were part of Oxfam’s global report on wealth disparity called “Survival of the Richest”, also showed that the richest 1 per cent of Australians have accumulated 10 times more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent in the past decade, as cost of living pressures bite and global inequality spikes.
Globally, the richest 1 per cent have made nearly twice as much money as the rest of the world put together over the past two years, it also found.
Meanwhile, the fortunes of billionaires around the globe are increasing by $3.6 billion a day while more than 1.7 billion workers live in countries where inflation is now outpacing wages.
Oxfam Australia director of programs Anthea Spinks said the enormous gains seen by the world’s richest people were stark evidence of a broken system.
“While ordinary people in Australia and around the world are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super rich have outdone even their wildest dreams,” she said.
“Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires – a Roaring ’20s boom for the world’s richest.”
The report also showed how taxing the rich could be life-changing for ordinary Australians.
It revealed that a tax of just 2 per cent on the country’s millionaires with wealth over $7 million, 3 per cent on those with wealth over $67 million, and 5 per cent on billionaires would raise $29.1 billion annually.
This would be enough to increase income support payments by $88 a day for 1.44 million people, which would benefit almost 845,000 children.
The wealth tax could also build 36,000 social housing homes annually or be put towards investing in grants to get millions of homes off gas, which could save households up to $1900 off their energy bills each year, the report found.
Oxfam is calling on the Australian Government to scrap the stage three tax cuts – which will result in $243 billion of lost tax revenue in the decade after they come into effect – and increase the taxation of the super rich.
“Decades of tax cuts for the richest people and corporations have fuelled inequality at home and across the globe, with the poorest people paying higher tax rates than many high-flying CEOs and millionaires,” Ms Spinks said.
“Staggeringly, just 42 Australians now have a combined wealth of close to $236 billion.
“Cutting taxes for high income earners will make our system less fair, overwhelmingly benefiting the already wealthy and privileged while leaving behind everyday Australians battling with the cost of living crisis.”
According to the World Bank, the current global economic conditions are leading to the biggest increase in worldwide inequality and poverty will be seen since World War II, as more than 820 million people – roughly one in 10 people on Earth – go hungry.
Domestically, recent research from Food Bank found more than two million Australian households had experienced severe food insecurity in the previous 12 months, meaning they couldn’t afford to eat.
At the same time, billionaire wealth surged in 2022 with rapidly rising food and energy profits.
The report showed that 95 food and energy corporations had more than doubled their profits in 2022, driving major inflation in Australia and around the globe and leaving millions struggling to feed themselves and their families.
“Taxing the super rich and big corporations is the path out of today’s overlapping inequality and climate crises, and the key to resuscitating democracy. We need to do this for innovation, for stronger public services, for happier and healthier societies,” Ms Spinks said.
“Critically, it will also allow us to tackle the climate crisis by investing in the solutions that counter the insane emissions of the very richest. Because 40 years of tax cuts for the super rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all ships – just the super yachts.”
Globally, previous research by Oxfam, the Fight Inequality Alliance, Institute for Policy Studies, and the Patriotic Millionaires found an annual wealth tax of up to 5 per cent on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $3.35 trillion a year.
This could lift two billion people out of poverty, deliver a 10-year plan to end hunger, support poorer countries being ravaged by climate impacts and deliver universal healthcare and social protection for everyone living in low and lower middle-income countries.
Originally published as Australia’s richest raked in $150,000 per minute, Oxfam report reveals