Oxfam Australia has today welcomed a commitment from G20 Labour and Employment Ministers to tackle inequality.
Widening inequality was brought into the spotlight earlier this year at the World Economic Forum after Oxfam released a landmark report showing half of the world’s population – 3.5 billion – own the same wealth as the 85 richest people.
Oxfam Australia’s G20 spokesperson Jo Pride said it is encouraging to see that G20 Labour and Employment Ministers appear to be responding to a call from world leaders to act on inequality.
“The US President Barack Obama, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, the World Economic Forum, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and even the Pope have called for action to address inequality,” Ms Pride said.
“It would appear G20 Labour and Employment Ministers have heard that call and G20 countries now need to build on this commitment and take concrete actions to reverse growing inequality.”
“People around the world are concerned that the gap between rich and poor is growing and making the world a worse place to live.
“By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives, and means that their voices go unheard. If the global community fails to curb widening inequality, we can expect more economic and social problems, undermining efforts to eradicate poverty.”
Ms Pride said Australia, as president of the G20 this year, had a major opportunity to tackle inequality, which is growing globally.
Oxfam research in June revealed that Australia’s richest nine individuals have a net worth of $58.6 billion (US$54.8 billion), more than the bottom 20 per cent (4.54 million people).
An Oxfam poll found 70 per cent of Australians surveyed think it is unfair that the richest 1 per cent of Australians owns more than 60 per cent of the poorest Australians and 79 per cent of Australians want world leaders to tackle the growing issue of inequality.
“It is great to see G20 Labour and Employment Ministers recognise the need to tackle inequality. We know that the wealth gap is ever-widening and that inequality is bad for growth itself.
“We need leaders at the Brisbane G20 Summit in November to make concrete commitments to tackle inequality. For this to happen, the Prime Minister must put inequality on the summit agenda.”
For interviews or more information, please contact Emma Whalan on 0418 872 783