17 May 2023

Stronger wages growth under Labor


Joint media release with
The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations 
Minister for the Arts
Leader of the House

New numbers today show more sustained and stronger wages growth under the Albanese Labor Government.

The Wage Price Index rose 0.8 per cent in the March quarter, to be 3.7 per cent higher through the year.

This is the fastest through‑the‑year growth in over a decade – since September 2012.

Getting wages growing again is central to our economic plan and the Budget we handed down in the parliament last week.

These new ABS figures show the private sector was the main driver of growth.

The data also shows that 60 per cent of jobs received a higher wage rise compared to the  year before. This is the highest proportion since this analysis began.

It’s really pleasing to see that wages are moving, after our predecessors spent a decade trying to deliberately suppress wages growth.

We need to keep in mind that these are aggregate numbers and we know they might not impact everyone but this is another step in the right direction.

We also understand that many households are still doing it tough from cost‑of living‑pressures and higher interest rates.

That’s why the Budget included a $14.6 billion cost‑of‑living relief package which will help Australians with rising energy bills, rents and make medicines cheaper.

A big part of tackling cost‑of‑living challenges is to help ensure ordinary Australian workers can earn enough to provide for their loved ones and to get ahead.

We also acknowledge that securing real wages growth remains a priority. That’s why our responsible Budget and cost‑of‑living relief measures directly help to reduce inflation.

Inflation peaked at the end of last year and has begun to moderate.

Combined, with a pickup in wage growth this will help deliver stronger real wage growth to workers sooner.

Wages growth isn’t the problem when it comes to inflation, it’s part of the solution to the cost‑of‑living pressures Australians face.

We seek wages growth which is strong and sustainable, and an economy which is more productive, competitive and inclusive.

That’s why we’ve supported wage rises for minimum and award wage workers, we funded pay rises for aged care workers in the Budget, we changed the law to support secure jobs and better pay, why we’re making it easier for parents to return to work, why we’re creating more TAFE and university places, and why we’re investing industries that create secure, well‑paid jobs.

Our May Budget was deliberately focused on targeted cost‑of‑living relief that doesn’t add to inflation, getting wages moving again and laying the foundations for a stronger and more resilient economy.