The combined wealth of Australian billionaires has risen by more than 50% over the past year. By comparison, billionaires in the US and UK recorded an increase of about 25% over the same period
The combined net worth of Australia’s billionaires dropped in March – when Covid-19 restrictions ramped up – before rebounding strongly and increasing throughout the course of the year.
By contrast regular families were already having it tough before Covid hit with “anaemic” wage growth, home ownership being at its lowest level in six decades and household debt skyrocketing. More than 1 million people with insufficient assets have pulled money out of superannuation.
Several Australian billionaires, including Solomon Lew, owned firms that had paid out significant dividends after receiving jobkeeper support from taxpayers. Critics have dubbed the design issue as “dividendkeeper”. Lew would pocket $24.25m in dividends after his retail empire, Premier Investments, received almost $70m in wage subsidies during the coronavirus crisis.