June 02, 2018

Labor welcomes the real increase to the minimum wage handed down by the Fair Work Commission of 3.5 per cent ($24.30 per week).

This decision is a repudiation of the Turnbull government's refusal to support an increase to the minimum wage. 

It is also a reflection of the harm that Turnbull government policies have inflicted with many Australian families experiencing cuts to their real disposable income. (See Table 3.2)

The Commission also noted that: "The relative position of many NMW and award-dependent household types with children vis-a-vis the relative poverty line actually deteriorated due to changes in the tax-transfer system in 2017" (paragraph 88, p. 20)

The decision embraced Labor’s submission to the Annual Wage Review, in which we called for a real increase to the national minimum wage to recognise the impact of Turnbull government policies including cuts to payments, flat-lining wages, cost of living pressures, and the gender pay gap. 

As always, Labor’s submission took into consideration the capacity of industry to pay, while acknowledging that there is a pressing need to restore the link between hard work and fair reward and rebuild the idea that a fairly paid workforce is a more productive workforce in a more profitable business.

In contrast, while presiding over record low wages growth, the Liberals support cutting the wages of the low paid by cutting penalty rates and did not advocate for an increase to the minimum wage.

For those workers who rely on penalty rates who will see their wages cut again on July 1 this year and July 1 next year, this increase is cold comfort because they know Malcolm Turnbull refuses to stand up for low paid workers.

While Labor wants to give 10 million working Australians almost twice the tax cut that the Liberal's are offering, we will also protect penalty rates and properly fund education and hospitals.

Labor understand that a strong minimum wage not only supports the lowest paid, it is the foundation for the determination of award wages which in turn supports middle class families and stimulates economic growth.

Many Australians feel the economy is not working for them. Jobs are less secure and wages are less likely to be able to keep up with the cost of paying the bills.
Labor believes in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and a decent national minimum wage is fundamental to achieving that goal.