Intensifying debate over raising the minimum wage in 2021

The Morrison government has warned that raising Australia’s minimum wage this year could constrain the recovery and employment of small businesses.

“Increased labor costs during this difficult time can severely constrain the recovery of SMEs and weaken employment in the sector,” the government said in a submission.pdf) Requests the Fair Labor Relations Commission’s annual review to consider job creation and business feasibility during the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“The risk of domestic outbreaks and continued turmoil in other major economies means that the economic environment remains uncertain,” the government said.

“Vaccine deployment is ongoing, but the outbreak of COVID-19, which requires further containment measures, remains a significant risk.”

In response to this call, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has claimed a 3.5% increase, or $ 26.38 per week, to full-time minimum wage workers.

ACTU claimed that one-fifth of Australian workers receive the minimum wage and rely on the Commission’s annual review for salary increases. A slight increase of 1.75% last year was three months behind at 75% of recipients, but Australia has already “established a living wage at 60% of its median income”, such as in the UK and New Zealand. We are lagging behind other countries. “

“If wages don’t rise, the entire recovery will be threatened,” said ACTU Secretary Sally McManus. Press release.. “The money in the hands of working people creates sustainable economic growth, not greater profits for large corporations.”

Epoch Times Photo
Secretary of ACTU Sally McManus during a door stop at the Media Gallery of the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia, March 18, 2021. (Sam Mooy / Getty Images)

ACTU quoted a statement from the Reserve Bank. Wage growth is too low He argued that GDP’s labor share had fallen to historically low levels.

“Everyone is suffering if wage growth doesn’t recover. Local businesses feel most when the minimum wage workers don’t have the money to spend.”

Participated in ACTU, Queensland (pdf), Victorian (pdf)pdf) The state government called for a wage increase in the submission.

At the same time, the Government of South Australia and the Government of New South Wales (NSW) reflected the federal warning. Submissions..

The National Federation of Farmers (NFF) and Business NSW, one of the state’s top employers’ organizations, have also called for a freeze on the minimum wage increase this year. Australian person report.

“The NFF wants to maintain the current minimum wage level to minimize financial pressure on agriculture,” the federal government said in a submission to its annual wage review.

The NFF claimed that droughts, last year’s wildfires and pandemics had hit many farm businesses hard. At the same time, labor costs make up a large proportion of the total cost of agriculture, especially for horticultural producers.

“This gives affected farms the time and capacity to recover from recent adversity and protect the productivity and feasibility of the agricultural sector,” the federal government said.