ACOSS welcomes the Fair Work Commission’s $40 (5.2%) increase to national minimum wage and 4.6% increase to modern award minimum wages. This approach recognises the particular challenges that workers on low incomes are facing with high inflation, with the lowest paid workers receiving an increase on par with the 5.1% increase in the cost of living over the past year.
ACOSS Acting Chief Executive Officer, Edwina MacDonald said:
“Real wage rates have been stagnant for a decade now. They can and should be increased substantially, at least to compensate for inflation, without triggering a wage-price spiral or higher unemployment.
“We must do more to improve the lives of people on low and modest incomes: At the forthcoming Employment Summit, ACOSS will work together with unions and business to find ways to lift real wages in an orderly way while restoring full employment.
“The Summit should focus on three things: getting more people into paid work, lifting wages without triggering inflation, and adequate, predictable paid working hours.
“Workers providing some of the most essential services whilst surviving on low pay, along with people relying on inadequate income support payments like Jobseeker, are struggling to meet basic living costs. ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership research found that a million people in wage-earning families are living below the poverty line.
“Women make up more than half (55%) of the low-paid award-reliant workforce. A substantial increase in minimum wages would also be a step towards reducing the pay gap between men and women.
“With the wage increase now decided, ACOSS looks forward to collaborating with the Government on ensuring funding for the community sector covers fair and reasonable wages and indexation, in line with its election commitments.