Australia’s Living Standards Are In Crisis – And Young People Will Be Hit The Hardest

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A recent studies indicate wealth is becoming more concentrated among older Australians.

“Back in my day” is usually the phrase heard when two individuals coming from different generations talk about their various experiences in life, whether it be about marriage, purchasing their first home, or having their first baby. 

According to Dr Liz Allen, an author and a demographer at the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, “While generations are fighting it out, we’re masterly distracted from the realities of intergenerational inequalities. Our distraction is blinding us to the job at hand. Living standards in Australia are going backwards, and it’s the young and not yet born set to suffer the most.”

Allen further notes that housing and wages are two indicators of young people’s generational difficulties. “From generation to generation, homeownership rates have slipped away since the baby boom of 1946-1964, as fewer and fewer young people achieve the quintessentially Australian dream of homeownership. Young adults with children have experienced the greatest declines in homeownership rates. It’s not surprising that young people have given up on secure housing as homeownership has become so far out of reach.”

Dan Ziffer, a business reporter for ABC, notes that Australia’s tax and welfare perks are designed for older Australians to benefit. According to his report, wage growth has remained low for younger Australians, who also are the same group of people not enjoying tax advantages.

“Wage growth has been stubbornly low. Combined with rising inflation, that means people’s purchasing power, what they can buy with their money, is becoming weaker,” adds the reporter. As the younger generations continue to carry the tax burden, the government’s specific policies are benefiting older and wealthier Australians.

Some of the benefits the older citizens are enjoying are superannuation concessions, capital gains tax, franking credits, and expansion of the Commonwealth Seniors Health card.

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