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Comments on national wage case hearing by Minister at luncheon of the economic society of Australia and New Zealand (N.S.W Branch)



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FROM THE MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS THE HON. TONY STREET, M.R

“By not awarding full percentage indexation at the last

National Wage Case Hearing, the Arbitration Commission

recognised that to do so would keep Australians inflation, rate

close to 13% for some time to come, with, the prospect of '

economic stagnation and a continued high level of unemployment1 . *

the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations said today

at a Luncheon arranged by the Economic Society of Australia :

and New Zealand (NSW Branch) in Sydney.

“I am pleased to say that the Commission, also specifically

recognised the need to meet the requirements of equity and at

the same time make a contribution towards moderating the

increase in labour costs1 . ’ Mr Street said. -

"It was gratifying too that the Commission expressly confirmed

the Commonwealth Government’s stand that it is appropriate to : take economic factors into account in determining the extent to , · .

to which wages should be adjusted for price movements. " . . ; .

Incidentally, the Commission* s decision is estimated to add .

$780 million to the annual wages M i l . This compares with - . 1:·

$1,120 million if full indexation, as sought by the Trade -Onions, had been granted " he said. ' ; 7

x* V ·-* "If this principle of indexation is adhered,to? T believe it

will facilitate a gradual but persistent decline in the rate of

inflation and a recovery in profits to a more acceptable level."."'JS

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Mr Street went on to say ’: “At the recent economic discussions

between the Government and the Unions, all acknowledged that

there is a relationship between inflation and the level of

unemployment and that increases in real disposable income

throughout the community are related to growth in productivity ^

and real output. In this context, the Government emphasised • that in determining the margin available for distribution, you must have regard not only to wage levels but to cash benefits

such as family allowances and the introduction of personal income tax indexation. However, we were impressed by the views

put by the trade union movement concerning a general reduction

in taxation, whether direct or indirect. And we reiterated our

commitment to lighten the general taxation burden. For their ■ part, the union representatives acknowledged that.the size of

wage claims in the present economic circumstances is definitely

a relevant factor in the process of economic recovery, and the

achievement df full employment and a reduction in inflation."

SYBSEY 23 June 1976 & S / 7 6

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