New research from international organisation Oxfam shows Australian billionaire wealth is 61% higher than it was before the pandemic.
Globally, Oxfam also found that for the first time in 25 years, extreme wealth and extreme poverty increased at the same time last year.
Here’s a closer look.
Oxfam says the richest 1% of Australians have accumulated an average of $2,500 a second (or $150,000 a minute) for the last decade. The total wealth accumulated by the top 1% over this period is 10 times greater than the wealth accumulated by the bottom 50%.
This includes a significant increase in wealth for the top 1% since the pandemic, which has resulted in 11 new Australian billionaires. 42 of the richest Australians now have a combined wealth of nearly $236 billion – equivalent to more than a third of the Australian Government’s entire Budget this financial year.
The gap between the richest and poorest people has widened around the world. Oxfam reports the richest 1% around the world have made nearly twice as much money as the rest of the world combined in the past two years.
Despite some billionaires prominently losing money in recent months (including Elon Musk, who has broken the record for the most money lost in history), Oxfam says billionaire wealth overall surged in 2022. This was partly due to profiting off higher prices for food and energy.
Oxfam recommends a new system of wealth taxation on the richest Australians.
Australia collects taxes based on the income individuals earn in a given year, but generally does not tax someone’s total wealth directly.
Oxfam estimates a wealth tax of between 2-5% on millionaires and billionaires could raise $29.1 billion a year.