Australia’s estimated population is 23.4 million (ABS May 2014). According to the 2012 Census, there are around 5.7 million children, 2.37 million people on the aged pension, 850,000 on the invalid pension and more than 1.5 million on other governments benefits. There are 929,000 full-time students over 18 years of age, and 1.8 million direct government employees.
So the maths works out as follows – there are 13.2 million Australians relying on the incomes earned and taxes paid by the 10.2 million people who work in the private sector. That is 44% of the population is supporting itself – AND the other 56% of the population is relying on the payment of taxes, (and the erosion of savings).
I strongly support the welfare state – and we are a rich enough country to look after the less fortunate or talented within our society. I also accept that statistics do not always tell the whole story, and can be manipulated to make a particular point. But somehow I don’t think these numbers add up on a sustainable basis, particularly as the population ages.