It probably
won’t be news to you that Australia’s richest 20% enjoy some two-thirds of its
wealth; that the poorest 20% make do on a measly 1%; or that the gap between
rich and poor – yep, you guessed it – keeps on growing.

It’s easy to
forget about this increasing inequity amid the fanfare of lists like the BRW “Rich 200”, which glorifies
Australia’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. Good on them, we guess, for making more
money than they could possibly ever need. But as Ian Harper wrote in BRW last year, how these people spread
their money around is a far better measure by which to judge character.

And,
unfortunately, they don’t measure up very well at all. But perhaps our
greatest go-getters are looking for guidance on where they can help most. So,
as a public service, we present the Poor 20, a list that matches Australia’s
most down-at-heel electorates with their richest relatives:

1. Braddon, Tasmania
Poverty Rate: 15.1%
Most Pressing Need: Affordable housing and
dentistry
Rich Relative: Gunns Limited

2. Lyons, Tasmania
Poverty Rate: 14.9%
Most Pressing Need: More childcare
Rich Relative: Federal Hotels and the Farrell
family

3. Grey, South Australia
Poverty Rate: 14.6%
Most Pressing Need: Indigenous support
Rich Relatives: Port Lincoln businessman Sam Sarin

4. Cowper, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 14.3%
Most Pressing Need: Better aged-care services
Rich Relative: Gordon Merchant, Billabong founder

5. Gwydir, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 14.2%
Most Pressing Need: Drought relief
Rich Relative: Bob Oatley, owner of Hamilton Island

6. Mallee, Victoria
Poverty Rate: 13.9%
Most Pressing Need: Educational opportunities
Rich Relative: WIN
Corporation, now in the hands of Andrew Gordon

7. New England, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 13.8%
Most Pressing Need: Regional access to essential
services
Rich Relative: Edmund Bateman

8. Wide Bay, Queensland
Poverty Rate: 13.8%
Most Pressing Need: Funding for hospitals
Rich Relative: Qld real estate mogul Pat Buckler

9. Wakefield, South Australia
Poverty Rate: 13.8%
Most Pressing Need: Encouraging the unemployed to
work
Rich Relative: Hugh Maclachlan, wool farmer and property magnate

10. Port Adelaide, South Australia
Poverty Rate: 13.5%
Most Pressing Need: Mental health accommodation
Rich Relative: Trucking magnate Allan Scott, SA’s richest man

11. Page, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 13.4%
Most Pressing Need: Affordable housing
Rich Relative: the Clinton family (coalmining fortune)

12. Bendigo, Victoria
Poverty Rate: 13.3%
Most Pressing Need: Relief from income poverty
Rich Relative: Hotel Baron Bruce Mathieson

13. Parkes, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 13.3%
Most Pressing Need: Stronger education system
Rich Relative: George Falkiner, famed sheep breeder and owner of some 60,000 acres around
Dubbo, is thought by Crikey to be one
of the richest Australians.

14. Lyne, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 13.2%
Most Pressing Need: Aged care
Rich Relative: Franco Belgiorno-Nettis

15. O’Connor, Western Australia
Poverty Rate: 13.1%
Most Pressing Need: Relief from industry
instability
Rich Relative: Kerry Harmanis, mining magnate

16. Hinkler, Queensland
Poverty Rate: 13.0%
Most Pressing Need: Greater community engagement
Rich Relative: Discount-furniture king John Van Lieshout

17. Maranoa, Queensland
Poverty Rate: 13.0%
Most Pressing Need: Affordable housing
Rich Relative: Denis Jen

18. Richmond, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 13.0%
Most Pressing Need: Essential services
Rich Relative: Tom Misner, Byron Bay Tycoon

19. Eden-Monaro, New South Wales
Poverty Rate: 12.6%
Most Pressing Need: Community engagement
Rich Relative: Agricultural king John Kahlbetzer

20. Capricornia, Queensland
Poverty Rate: 12.6%
Most Pressing Need: Affordable housing
Rich Relative:
Property and
finance high-flyer Philip Sullivan

To see the article in full, grab a copy of this week’s Big Issue on a street near you.

Peter Fray

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