Over the past 26 years Australia’s economy has more than doubled in size, disposable incomes have risen by 70 per cent, and unemployment has fallen to and stayed at levels not previously considered sustainable. These are all important indicators of economic progress. Yet when asked who has benefitted from 26 years of sustained growth, survey respondents paint a divided picture, one of contrasting fortunes.
Australians believe that those who have gained most from 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth have been large corporations, senior executives, shareholders and white-collar workers.
Almost three-quarters of people believe that large corporations and senior executives have gained a lot. While over 40 per cent of respondents believe that they have not gained personally at all, and just five per cent of respondents felt that they had personally gained a lot.
The results remind us that the community assesses the benefits of sustained economic growth based largely on their current circumstances and whether they feel like they are getting ahead. Those who are in full-time employment, living in a capital city or major regional city and “living comfortably” are more likely to identify themselves as gaining from Australia’s strong record of economic growth.