Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Minimum wage increases must balance needs of low paid and national economy

Ministers:

The Hon Wayne Swan MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Treasurer

The Gillard Government says any increase to minimum wages should reflect changes in living costs and the overall strength of the Australian economy.

The Government today lodged its submission to the independent Fair Work Commission’s 2013 Annual Wage Review which will set the National Minimum Wage and award wages for 2013–14.

As a Labor Government, we will always work with business to create more high-skill, well-paid jobs for Australians in safer workplaces.

Since Labor was elected in November 2007, more than 920,000 new jobs have been created in Australia, at a time when millions of jobs have been lost around the world. We are currently witnessing an early upswing in labour productivity growth and contained wages growth.

Building on our balanced and sensible approach to economic growth, and a fair go for working families, we are recommending to the Fair Work Commission that when considering the size of minimum wage increases for 2013–14 that they consider both the needs of Australian families and the needs of business. The Gillard Government will always be driven by the idea that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

The submission provides the Commission with up-to-date evidence, including the latest economic data to consider in determining minimum wages for 2013–14.

The Government’s submission recognises that the Australian economy is expected to grow solidly, at a pace faster than most advanced economies. However, the Government also recognises that difficult global conditions and a high dollar has increased pressures on some sectors, such as retail and manufacturing.

The Government will make a further submission to the commission once the Budget has been delivered. The submission will include the latest economic data and an outline of relevant Budget initiatives.

The Government's submission is available on the Fair Work Commission website www.fwc.gov.au.

Contacts:

Pip Freebairn (for Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer): 0402 417 368

Sam Casey (for Minister Shorten): 0421 697 660