This third 2020 publication from the Poverty and Inequality Partnership between the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW (Sydney) is written as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate countries throughout the world. It summarises the extent and effects of income and wealth inequality before the virus hit, and provides a lens through which to assess the impacts of COVID-19 as the pandemic continues and governments and businesses respond.
The report includes a preliminary analysis of the likely impact of COVID-19, the associated ‘lockdowns’, and government income support measures on income inequality. Prior to COVID-19, inequality in Australia in terms of income and wealth was extensive. Those in the highest 20% by household income had six times the incomes of those in the lowest 20%. Whilst average wealth in Australia was relatively high, it was distributed extremely unequally – those with the highest 20% of wealth had 90 times the wealth of those with the lowest 20%.
This overview follows the first two publications this year – Poverty in Australia 2020: Part 1 – Overview and Poverty in Australia 2020: Part 2 – Who is affected? It is the latest publication from the 5 year Poverty and Inequality Partnership between ACOSS and UNSW Sydney, a research and impact partnership to reduce poverty and inequality in Australia.