It's always interesting the way inequality figures are reported.
After 18 years without a technical recession it's not surprising that outcomes have improved but perhaps they should have been even better.
The richest 20 % have done best.
“"The proportion of households reliant on government pensions and allowances was 23.2 per cent in 2007-08, down from 26.1 per cent in 2005-06 and 28.5 per cent in 1994-95," says the ABS report, titled Household Income and Income Distribution, released yesterday.
The fall is more remarkable given that more people are moving on to age pensions as the baby boomers begin to retire.”
Average wealth has risen sharply since 1994 … rapidly since 2005, but top 20 per cent of earners have done best … more in their hands than before
“"In 2007-08, average equivalised disposable household income for all persons living in private dwellings ... was $811 per week," the report says.
"The net increase (in average household income) was 13 per cent between 2005-06 and 2007-08, and 50 per cent between 1994-95 and 2007-08."
But the increases were not uniform across incomes, with high income-earners increasing their household income by an average 16 per cent since 2005, middle income-earners rising 11 per cent, and low income-earners up only 10 per cent.
"A major contributor to some of the change in the income distribution measures in 2007-08 when compared with 2005-06 was the strong rise in wage and salary incomes (up 28 per cent)," the report says.
“Melbourne Institute deputy director of research Roger Wilkins said the Howard government's tightening of the pension eligibility criteria for single parents and the disabled would have played a part in the heavy drop in households no longer dependent on welfare as their primary source of income.
"I would say it's about half and half -- half the change could be put down to economic growth over the period, and the other half due to welfare policy changes," Dr Wilkins said.
"Certainly the figures show a large decline since 2005-06, and there was no substantive policy change during that period, so that must be attributable to the strong economic conditions."”