The independent Fair Work Commission has today announced its decision to increase the national minimum wage by 3.5 per cent from 1 July 2018.
For about 200,000 workers who are paid the national minimum wage, base wages will increase from $18.29 an hour or $694.90 per 38-hour week to $18.93 an hour or $719.20 per week.
As in previous years, the Fair Work Commission also increased minimum wages for up to 2.3 million workers who have their pay set by any of the 122 modern awards by 3.5 per cent.
In its decision, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) said the current economic conditions supported an increase, "…the economic indicators now point more unequivocally to a healthy national economy and labour market."
Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy said while Labor continued attacking the FWC, a body it established, the independent umpire had delivered a carefully considered and balanced outcome.
He said the FWC had reinforced a wage rise of the size proposed by the ACTU would, "…carry a substantial risk of reducing the employment opportunities for low-skilled workers, including many young persons, who are looking for work."
"Labor and the ACTU’s attempts to claim credit are laughable. The Commissioner clearly stated that the strength of the economy was a key factor for its decision. This is thanks to four and half years of sound economic management by the Turnbull Coalition Government. The only thing that would put wage rises and jobs at risk would be a change in government at the next election.
Mr Laundy said the Government had always supported a balanced wage increase, contrary to claims by the ACTU.
"Our submission stated that any outcome should be consistent with the continuation of recent positive economic developments to support economic growth, job growth and productivity growth."
Mr Laundy said the Turnbull Government was committed to delivering the right economic settings to keep growing the economy and today’s decision was further confirmation its policies were working.
"Since the Coalition came to office in September 2013, more than one million new jobs have been created, with record jobs growth in 2017," Minister Laundy said.
"We are sticking to our plan for a stronger economy because this is what will keep creating jobs and opportunities for all Australians and support sustainable wage growth."
As is its standard practice, the FWC considered evidence from unions, employer representatives, community groups, state governments and the Commonwealth to reach its decision.
Today’s decision compares to a 3.3 per cent increase in 2017 and a 2.4 per cent increase in 2016 for the national minimum wage and award wages.
Further detail on the Fair Work Commission decision is available at www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/wagereview2018/decisions/2018fwcfb3500.pdf