What can tackle runaway inequality in Australia?
Oxfam argues that a human economy is the best way to tackle the growing problem of economic inequality, both here in Australia and abroad.
Building a human economy requires dedicated action from both the Australian Government and corporations.
Oxfam Australia CALLS on the Australian Government to:
1. Tackle corporate tax dodging by implementing full public tax transparency
Multinational corporations should pay their fair share of tax, both in Australia and in the countries where they operate. One of the best ways to ensure that this happens is to mandate that large corporations publicly report on their tax affairs – including profits, revenue, employees and assets – for every country in which they operate.
2.End the era of tax havens and the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates
The relentless race to the bottom on corporate tax rates does not reduce inequality, and is likely to only benefit the super-rich. From a federal budget point of view, the proposed tax cut to big business is also revenue neutral, and does not provide additional public funds. The Government should not proceed with a cut in the corporate tax rate for large Australian businesses.
3. Move beyond GDP growth and report on indicators of Australian progress
The now de-funded Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Measures of Australian Progress (MAP), or Commonwealth Treasury’s Wellbeing Framework
are existing frameworks that could be used, in addition to quarterly GDP growth, to publicly report on the wellbeing of Australians.
The role of women’s unpaid work should also be captured by Australian progress indicators.
The Government should also use additional measures of progress, beyond GDP growth, within the Australian aid program to make sure that poverty and inequality are effectively targeted by Australian aid.
4. Conduct inequality impact analysis as part of national policy changes
In order to tackle rising inequality at home and abroad, it is imperative that the Australian Government conduct analysis of the impact that policy changes will have on economic inequality. For instance, there is no inequality impact analysis of the proposed cuts to the corporate tax rate.
5. Implement measures to reduce extreme wealth concentration, and follow through with commitment to create a public register of company ownership
In addition to tackling corporate tax dodging, the Australian Government should consider further measures to reduce extreme wealth concentration, such as land taxes, extreme net wealth taxes,
and high-income taxes (such as the Buffet Rule).
At a time when all levels of government are facing budget pressures, these types of measures can be used to tackle rising inequality, and provide the necessary public funding for essential services that benefit all.
Oxfam also calls on the Australian Government to follow through with the April 2016 commitment to establish a public register of ultimate beneficial owners of companies, foundations, trusts,
The register should include all companies registered or operating in Australia and from Australia.
Such measures will help reduce tax dodging by wealthy individuals who own large multinational corporations.
6. Refocus efforts to tackle climate change
The devastation caused by climate change has real impacts on Australians and vulnerable communities in our region.
It is crucial that the Australian Government refocus efforts to build a human economy powered by renewable energy.
This will require a transition of Australia’s energy system to 100% renewables as soon as possible, with Australia reaching zero emissions well before mid-century.
The Government must also prioritise support for neighbouring countries to adapt to climate impacts and build resilient, sustainable economies as part of a growing Australian aid program.
Press link for more: Oxfam.org.au