The Rich Cost More

Article published 28 April 2018

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Who does the system support more, the richest or the poorest Australians?

Often we hear that poor Australians are a ‘burden’ on taxpayers, but it turns out that tax concessions for the richest 20 per cent of households cost us $68 billion every year.

That’s six times as much as we spend on Newstart Allowance.

This news comes out of research commissioned by Anglicare Australia. The report compared the cost of superannuation concessions, capital gains tax, negative gearing, the use of discretionary trusts, private health insurance and education GST exemptions which all disproportionately benefit the wealthy, to the cost of direct welfare payments by Centrelink.

So who does the system support more, the richest or the poorest Australians?

Well according to Anglicare’s calculations, the cost of forgone revenue from the richest 20 per cent of Australians is around $37 a week from every worker in the country.

Compare this to the $6 per week it costs to support people on the Newstart unemployment benefit, $17 per week for assistance to people with disability, and $20 per week to assistance of families with children. The rich even cost more than we spend on supporting people receiving the Age Pension, which costs $35 per week.

It seems tax concessions for the wealthy cost the public purse far more than support for any single welfare recipient group.

These findings are particularly surprising considering direct welfare payments are constantly under attack and tax concessions receive very little media attention by comparison.

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