Inequality on the rise

08-Mar-2019

This week the ACTU launched a new report on inequality and the sharp decline in living standards for working people that has occurred over the course of the last five years.

The report draws on a range of independent sources from Australia (including ABS data) and overseas and demonstrates, that for the first time in over twenty years, Australian’s are suffering a real decline in living standards. This report highlights the inequitable distribution of the gains of productivity and the accumulation of wealth by the already wealthy at the expense of working people.

The ACTU is calling for reforms to reduce job insecurity, lift wages and increase the Newstart allowance and warns that the policies of the Morrison Government could result in an American-style economy of dead-end jobs, poverty pay levels and zero job security.

The ACTU has identified six key policy areas that must be addressed in order to lower inequality, raise the living standards of all Australians, maintain robust levels of economic growth and revitalise faith in our democratic process

  1. Wages Policy: Ensuring that real wages rise in line with national productivity improvements through the introduction of a new Living Wage, tackling insecure work, restoring penalty rates for 700,000 low paid workers, raising public sector wages and reform the collective bargaining system so it can deliver rising living standards;
  2. Tax Policy: Making sure everyone pays their fair share of tax including corporations and the wealthiest members of our society. This includes reforms to capital gains, negative gearing and family trusts;
  3. Raise Newstart: Lifting the very poorest Australians out of dire poverty including through an increase in Newstart and an increase in the aged pension for those without adequate superannuation;
  4. Increased expenditure on health and education;
  5. Jobs Plan: A comprehensive Jobs Plan to reduce underemployment and unemployment; and,
  6. Measures to tackle excessive corporate power: The Banking Royal Commission has shown the extent of corporate excess and law breaking. Australia is also littered by firms with oligopoly power in certain sectors. Stronger competition policy is required to ensure people are not being ripped off by excessive prices.