Australia has experienced its longest ever period of economic growth over the last quarter century. Yet, there are growing concerns and debate about the distribution of benefits from this growth, and the extent to which inequality is increasing. One in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty, while the share of income going to the top is growing at the expense of low- and middle-income earners. The disparity between rich and poor Australians extends beyond income to educational, postcode, intergenerational and technological inequality – all of which are at the core of opportunity.
How are poverty and inequality measured; what are the features of deprivation experienced by people living with entrenched economic disadvantage, struggling with rising costs of living and housing pressures, and reliant on social security and charity? Is Australia – long seen as the egalitarian land of the ‘fair go’ – now a divided nation of haves and have-nots? How do we tackle economic disadvantage and poverty, and facilitate fairness and opportunity for all?