Official data released last week shows Australians, on the whole, have never been wealthier — but welfare groups say the figures highlight a growing divide between social classes across the nation, ABC News reports.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show total household wealth stood at a record $9.6 trillion at the end of March — up 2.4 per cent over the past quarter.
And to the delight of the tourism industry, Australia’s longstanding reputation as a land of opportunity has recaptured the attention of young and globally-mobile students who are flocking here to take advantage of what is on offer.
Households, according to the ABS, now hold a record $826 billion worth of shares, while the value of land and dwellings rose by $131 billion in the March quarter.
Households also held a touch over a $1 trillion in cash and deposits at the end of March.
“The average Australian is worth around $393,000, and that’s up around $7,500 over the past quarter,” Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian said.
But the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has rejected the idea Australians are getting richer.
Chief executive Cassandra Goldie said with nearly 3 million people still living below the poverty line, these latest figures highlighted a “disturbing growing divide in Australian society”.
“The reality is that people in the bottom 50 per cent of the community own just 6 per cent of the overall nation’s wealth,” she said.
While the nation’s rich may be sitting pretty, Ms Goldie is calling on the Government to do more to help those finding it hard to make ends meet.