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August 17, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull is so out of touch with everyday Australians that at a time when we are facing the slowest wages growth since records have been kept, he wants to cut workers’ penalty rates.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today show that wage growth through 2016 is still at the lowest rate on record since the ABS first published the data in 1998.

Under Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals, Australians are seeing their wages flat-lining and their job security is being eroded.

Pay packets are growing at the record-low rate of just 2.1 per cent and too many Australian families are feeling squeezed as a result.    

In the June quarter, private sector seasonally adjusted wages grew 0.5 per cent, taking annual growth to a bare 2.0 per cent.

In the public sector, wages did little better, growing 0.6 per cent for the quarter and 2.4 per cent for the year.

If wages were still growing at the rate they did under Labor, the average Australian worker would be about $2,200 a year better off right now than they are under the Liberals.

Malcolm Turnbull has no plan for our economy and no plan to grow workers’ pay packets.

Malcolm Turnbull’s one idea is to give big banks and big business a tax cut, while presiding over cuts to the take home pay of middle and working class families by attacking penalty rates.

The unemployment rate is 5.8 per cent, more than 725,000 Australians are unemployed, more than 1 million people want more work but can’t find it and their wages are barely growing at all.

Labor has consistently refuted, on economic grounds, the Government’s claims that penalty rates are unaffordable due to high wages, and that cutting penalty rates will increase employment.

Along with today’s Wage Price Index figures, the RBA’s latest statement shows that if wages growth does not improve off recent lows, we will see a knock-on effect for household income, consumption and economic growth.

Rather than a race to the bottom on wages, Labor believes the Government should focus on jobs and economic growth through investing in skills and training, infrastructure, education and entrepreneurship.