IGR = INEQUALITY GROWING, REALLY
Treasurer Joe Hockey has released an Intergenerational Report which is silent on one of the biggest challenges of our time: inequality.
Labor’s 2010 Intergenerational Report had an in-depth section on income disadvantage which highlighted the growing gap between the rich and the rest in recent decades.
It also laid out specific steps in education, employment, childcare and health which governments should take to close that gap in the years ahead.
By contrast, the Abbott Government’s Intergenerational Report does not make a single mention of inequality, and includes just a single reference to disadvantage.
This is the clearest sign yet that Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey simply do not care about those who are struggling in Australia today.
This is hardly surprising from a government which is telling Australians to work longer and that their pensions will be less when they eventually retire.
It is exactly what we have come to expect from a government which hands down a budget that makes some of the poorest Australian families $6,000 a year worse off; and cut the wages of low-paid cleaners by $2 an hour despite a ‘crystal clear’ promise from Tony Abbott they would not be worse off.
If Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey had bothered to include the facts on inequality in their Intergenerational Report, they’d know this is a serious challenge for future governments to tackle.
From 1975 to 2014, real wages grew by $7,000 for those Australians earning the least, but by over $47,000 for those earning the most. That means this country’s top earners have received a pay rise that is bigger than the total pay of the lowest earners.
Over the past generation, the income share of the top 1 per cent has doubled. But at the same time, one in five Australians cannot afford a week’s holiday away from home and one in eight cannot afford a trip to the dentist.
Inequality will not go away simply because the Abbott Government whitewashes this from the Intergenerational Report.
Australia needs a government which can see the gaps in our community, and one which is willing to act to close them.
FRIDAY, 6 MARCH 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856