44% of 12,000 Australians surveyed in the past year said they were worried about losing their jobs.
44% of 12,000 Australians surveyed in the past year said they were worried about losing their jobs. THINKSTOCK

Greed, politics and 'short-term' thinking has us worried

ALMOST half of all Australians are worried about losing their jobs because of economic woes they are putting down to "short-term thinking, corporate greed and political and economic mismanagement", a new report argues.

The Ipsos report on Community Perspectives on Social Inequality was commissioned by the Australian Council of Social Services and released at the council's national meeting in Sydney on Thursday.

It showed 44% of 12,000 Australians surveyed in the past year said they were worried about losing their jobs in the current economic climate and 69% believed welfare would not be enough to support them if they did.

ACOSS chief Dr Cassandra Goldie said some 73% of respondents further felt the gap between rich and poor was getting wider and 58% believed having large differences in income and wealth was "bad for society".

The report showed most were placing the blame for such problems at the feet of politicians and corporate leaders, despite Australia's relative high economic performance among OECD countries.

And during such times, the report said, "participants have a tendency to detach from political and social issues" to concentrate on issues closer to home, like family, personal health and finances.

While prices for many goods and services had risen in recent years, the lack of wages growth meant many people were struggling, but most believed asking for a pay rise was "highly risky given the stiff competition for work".

"Though anxious and frustrated over the state of their personal finances, participants were mindful of the growing number of Australians who had no place to live," it reads.

It also cited a "widespread view" that the Federal Government's 2014 budget would create more inequality by taking support away from the most vulnerable and "propping up the privileged even higher".

Dr Goldie said it was a "wake-up call" for all governments that community concerns about inequality were significant.



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