On March 31, the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations (ACCER) lodged their submission with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) as part of the annual Minimum Wage Review.
ACCER has recommended an increase to the National Minimum Wage and the annual review of the modern awards of 7.2%. This increase is meant to ensure that all low paid workers can be assured of a standard of living which protects them from poverty and disadvantage.
In reaching this recommendation, ACCER drew on evidence that reveals that a significant cohort of Australian workers who are dependent upon the National Minimum Wage are not receiving a decent living wage. Many of those groups are well below the 60% poverty line (as defined by the Australian Council of Social Service) or are sufficiently close to it so that, for all intents and purposes, they are not protected from the ill effects of poverty and disadvantage.
A long running goal of the National Minimum Wage has been closing the poverty gap, a goal ACCER believes can be achieved by the end of this decade through a significant increase in the Minimum Wage.
ACCER also supports a 7.2% increase in wages to workers employed on the lowest bands of modern awards. Sharply rising cost of living pressures disproportionately affect those on the lowest incomes, reducing their purchasing power.
While historically the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Wage Price Index (WPI) have correlated, following the COVID-19 pandemic, they have diverged sharply. The previous 12 months of economic figures show that the CPI has more than doubled in comparison to the WPI (6% vs 2.8%)
It is therefore clear that wage pressures have only contributed marginally to inflationary pressures. Inflation continues to be primarily driven by international and domestic geopolitical factors.
Wage Growth is not to blame for inflation, and wage earners should not be penalised unjustly with sub-inflation wage outcomes.
Read the full submission here: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/wage-reviews/2022-23/c20231-sub-accer-310323.pdf