Canberra Proposes Minimum Wage Increase Aligned With Inflation Rates

In a bid to address the pressing concerns of low-income workers amidst the cost-of-living crisis, the Labor government has written to the Fair Work Commission, requesting changes on minimum wages. 

“These tax cuts…are designed to be in addition to any increase in award and minimum wages granted by the Fair Work Commision,” said in the submission.

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Labor’s forthcoming submission to the Fair Work Commission, due on Thursday, will play a significant role in determining changes to minimum wages and awards for the ongoing wage review of 2023-24. 

Australia’s Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has underscored the necessity of wage increases alongside the much-discussed tax cuts. 

“We don’t see cost of living relief as instead of decent wages growth, we want to see decent wages growth on top of the billions of dollars in cost of living relief that the Albanese government is rolling out,” he told ABC TV.

“One of the best ways that we can help people deal with cost living pressures, is to get wages moving again so people earn more and keep more of what they earn.”

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The Commission, citing a combination of factors including low unemployment, declining wages, and high inflation, had previously raised wages by 5.75 per cent in June.

Acknowledging the favourable economic conditions characterised by declining unemployment, easing inflation, and growing wages, Mr Chalmers outlined the government’s tax cut measures. 

These include a reduction in the lowest income tax rate from 19 to 16 cents in the dollar for the first $45,000 earned and adjustments to subsequent tax brackets.

While economic indicators have shown signs of improvement, Mr Chalmers cautioned that low-income Australians continue to bear the burden of economic challenges.

 The Treasurer also underscored the vulnerability of low-paid workers and their families to cost-of-living pressures, highlighting their limited capacity to absorb rising expenses without adequate wage growth.

The Fair Work Commission is slated to announce its decision later in 2024.

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