Survey says Aussies unaffected by economic growth

Tuesday 3 July 2018
Luke Keioskie's picture
The Shaker

A  national poll has shown that the majority of Australians do not feel they have personally gained from the country's record run of economic growth.

Instead, Australians were more likely to report that large companies, senior executives and foreign shareholders have gained the most.

Releasing their latest report Community Pulse 2018: The Economic Disconnect, CEDA chief executive Melinda Cilento said the nation-wide poll showed that government delivery of critical services and support in health, aged care and law and order are top priorities for Australians.

Key results from CEDA’s poll include:

Who has gained from 26 years of economic growth?

  • 5 per cent of people believe they have personally gained a lot
  • 44 per cent of people did not feel like they had gained at all
  • 11 per cent didn’t know if they had gained
  • Those outside capital cities were less likely to feel they had gained
  • People over 50 were more likely to feel they had not gained at all
  • 31 per cent of people are finding it difficult to live on their current income
  • 74 per cent of people believe large corporations have gained a lot
  • 79 per cent of people believe the gap between the richest and poorest Australians is unacceptable.

Ms Cilento said over recent decades there has been a narrative that growth equals prosperity but the results suggest that many Australians do not feel like they are getting ahead.

“A decade of stagnant incomes and cost of living pressures in areas like health and electricity are contributing to this feeling but waning trust in business and politics are also likely factors,” she said.

“Economic development and reform are important for improving Australians’ quality of life, but if the community feel removed from the benefits or have lost trust that the benefits from growth will be broadly shared, then gaining traction on economic reform becomes more difficult.”

Ms Cilento said supporting business competitiveness, from reducing the company tax rate and red tape to supporting new industry, ranked as least important.

“Australia’s competitiveness is fundamental to future economic opportunities. There is more work to do if Australians are to feel that their aspirations and expectations are genuinely connected to the actions and activities of business.”

The poll also showed that people over 50 and those outside of capital cities were more likely to feel they had not gained at all from economic growth.

The majority of Australians do not think the gap between the richest and poorest in Australia is acceptable, and more than 30 per cent are finding it difficult or very difficult to live on their current incomes.

Ms Cilento said the poll also examines attitudes to work and national and personal policy priorities.

“Australians generally have reasonable levels of job satisfaction, although it is lower for those Australians in the most insecure forms of work,” she said.

“Almost one-third of respondents would like to work more hours to earn more.”