Release type: Media Release


Government Submission to the Federal Minimum Wage Review

Joint Media Release with The Hon Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer

In its submission to the Australian Fair Pay Commission 2009 Federal Minimum Wage review, the Government has supported a considered rise in the low-income safety net, mindful of significant challenges facing the domestic economy.

Consistent with its broader economic strategy, the Government has asked that employment be the primary consideration in the Commission’s review.

The Government’s view is that an excessive minimum wage increase at this time could have an adverse impact on labour market outcomes, particularly for the low skilled and the low paid.

As the Government’s submission notes, this is the most challenging environment to confront a minimum wage-setting authority in decades.

The Government anticipates that the Commission will take into account the on-going tax and transfer measures which have been aimed at supporting the incomes of low paid workers.

The Government has asked the Commission to note the temporary support provided through the $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan and the $10.4 billion Economic Stimulus Strategy.

The Government’s key priorities are to support jobs so as to minimise job losses during the economic downturn and to maintain a fair minimum safety net for all Australians by addressing the needs of the low paid.

As the Government’s submission notes, Australia’s economic circumstances are extremely challenging, due to the flow-on impacts of the global recession.

The Australian Fair Pay Commission’s 2009 review will cover the period 1 October 2009 to 30 June 2010 and will be the Commission’s last review. Fair Work Australia will assume responsibility for minimum wage setting from 1 July 2009.

The Government has asked the Commission to accept and consider post-Budget submissions prior to handing down its decision in July, as it did in 2007 and 2008.