SVdP says wealth gap hits elderly the hardest
    The St Vincent de Paul Society's national council has written to all Federal parliamentarians drawing attention to the growing economic divide in Australia, which is says most affects those aged 50 years and over.
    The Catholic Weekly reports that income increases for almost half the households in Australia have not kept pace with inflation over the past seven years, despite an earnings increase of 23.4% for high income households.
    National President John Moore said in the letter: "Regrettably, Australia is not the just, equitable and egalitarian society that many Australians think it is... Clearly the increases in incomes are heavily and unfairly skewed in favour of the wealthy."
    Citing Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household expenditure surveys from 1993-94 and 1998-99, the letter notes the lowest-earning 20% of households had an average weekly increase in income of just $9, or five%, bringing income up to $160 per week.
    Mr Moore's letter also noted the cost of essentials such as education and recreation, food, and health and personal care rose by between 12 and 19%.
    "They are largely elderly or near retirement. They have suffered enough and made sufficient sacrifices," Mr Moore said. "They deserve better than being left in difficult economic stress."
Cath Weekly