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News Media Releases WA less equal than others
WA less equal than others
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 14:55

The Barnett government must close the growing gap between the rich and poor in Western Australia.

Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of statistics show that the divide between the top and bottom household incomes is worse in WA than in any other state.

While the bottom 10 percent of WA households made up to $347 a week in 2009-10, down from $350 in 2007-08, the top tenth enjoyed an increase, from $1531 to $1652, in the same time period.

Worryingly, the top third of WA households have increased their weekly incomes by over 5 per cent since 2007, while the rest have either stagnated or gone backwards by up to 4.8 per cent over the same period.

The gap between the rich and poor has increased since the resources boom. In 2003-04 the top earning households made 3.7 times as much as the poorest. The latest figures show that those at the top are now making 4.8 times as much as the lowest earners.

Using a measure of household inequality called the Gini Coefficient (with 0 meaning most equal, and 1 meaning most unequal), the ABS figures show that at 0.367, WA tops the charts for Australia. The national measure is 0.328.

Australia wide the bottom 10 per cent of households increased their income by 3.6 per cent from $332 to $344 per week, while in WA those same households went backwards by 0.9 per cent.

“It’s shocking that in the midst of a mining boom, middle and lower income earners have less in their pockets while the rich are getting richer, despite the financial crisis,” said Unions WA Secretary Simone McGurk.

“Colin Barnett needs to admit that his economic policy is a failure for the majority of West Australians. People are struggling financially. Utility prices have increased 43.6 per cent since Barnett came to power. Electricity alone has increased 49 per cent,” she said.

“Tragically, the wealth from the current resource boom is not being shared across the population. These figures show that the Barnett government needs to rectify this.”

Simone McGurk is available for comment.

For more information contact: Heather Paterson - 0417 923 029, (08) 6313 6010

pdf WA Gap Between Rich and Poor 180.93 Kb

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