The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

19 March 2010

NO.015

Joint Media Release
with
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Deputy Prime Minister

Australian Government supports
a fair increase in the minimum wage

Today, the Government provided a submission to the Fair Work Australia 2010 Annual Wage Review in support of a considered rise in minimum wages which deliver a real increase in pay for low income workers.

The submission says any decision must be both economically responsible and fair. It notes that considered increases in minimum wages can allow low income working Australians to share in the benefits of economic growth while ensuring employment growth can continue.

Accordingly, the Government urges the Panel to grant a considered real increase in minimum wages that at a minimum reflects the cost of living increases since the last minimum wage rise in 2008.

The Government in its submission notes that minimum wage increases have an important role to play in ensuring relative living standards and the needs of the low paid are provided for.

This will be the first review of minimum wages under the Government's new workplace relations system which provides an enhanced safety net for Australian workers.

Under the new system, the Minimum Wage Panel has been established within Fair Work Australia as the new specialist body responsible for annually reviewing and setting minimum wages in Australia. The panel replaces the Australian Fair Pay Commission.

The Fair Work Act 2009 provides Fair Work Australia with new, balanced legislative parameters when setting minimum wages.

The parameters restore the balance between economic factors - employment growth, productivity and inflation, and considerations of fairness - social inclusion, relative living standards and needs of the low paid.

During the worst global financial and economic crisis in 75 years when most advanced economies fell into recession, the Australian economy not only continued to grow, but grew solidly.

The Governments economic stimulus measures, together with the unity and resilience of the Australian people, have delivered an unemployment rate around half of that in the US and Europe, and has kept the doors of thousands of small business open.

The Government believes that during periods of recovery and growth, those at the lower end of the income scale should share in the nations prosperity and that all Australian workers have a right to a fair wage that delivers a decent standard of living.

The review panels decision will take effect on the first pay period on or after 1 July 2010.

The Governments submission is available at http://www.deewr.gov.au

19 March 2010