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Professor Ian Harper [appointed] Fair Pay Commission Chairman.
Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service 13 October, 2005
Professor Ian Harper Fair Pay Commission Chairman
The Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews,
today announced that the Government has chosen Professor Ian Harper to be the first chairman of the Australian
Fair Pay Commission (AFPC).
Professor Harper is Executive Director of the Centre for Business and Public Policy at the Melbourne Business
School and is one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected academic economists. Prior to his current position,
Professor Harper was Professor of Monetary and Financial Economics at the University of Melbourne and previously
held positions at the Australian National University in Canberra and Princeton University in the United States. He
has extensive experience in public policy matters, which includes work as a member of the Wallis Inquiry into
Australia’s financial system and as a consultant to the Reserve Bank.
"Professor Harper is outstandingly qualified to lead the Fair Pay Commission
" Minister Andrews said. "He will be bring a new level of economic rigour to the wage-setting process, and will be
scrupulously fair-minded and independent."
The AFPC will comprise 5 members, drawn from economic, small business, employee and community service
backgrounds. It will be supported by a full-time secretariat that will be an independent statutory body. It will have
the ability to conduct its own rigorous research into the effect of minimum wages and the needs of the low-paid. It
will also take into account the effect of the interaction of minimum wages with the tax and welfare systems. It is
modelled on the UK Low Pay Commission established by the Blair Labour Government in 1997, which has increased
the minimum wage by around 30% in the last 8 years.
The AFPC will be able to conduct ongoing research into the Australian wage system and monitor the effects of wage
levels on employment and economic activity. It will operate independently of the Government, which will not be able
to reject its decisions. The AFPC represents the end of the era of the old adversarial wage-setting process, and a new
system that combines fairness with economic rigour.
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