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Increase to minimum wage.



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Media Release

The Hon Julie Bishop MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Business and Workplace Relations

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 2102 Fax: 02 6277 8497

8 July 2008

Increase to minimum wage

The decision of the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) today to increase the minimum wage by $21.66 per week appears to strike a sensible balance for Australia’s lowest paid workers, taking into account the cost of living, inflation and employment conditions.

The Coalition established the AFPC in the 2006 workplace reforms to act as an independent umpire and today’s decision highlights the economic and social benefits to low paid workers from the introduction of the AFPC.

The decision means the minimum wage will increase from 1 October 2008 to $543.78 a week - an increase of 4.15% for approximately 1.3 million workers.

The establishment of the AFPC has brought greater independence and more economic rigour to the minimum wage process and seeks to strike the balance between supporting jobs growth while seeking to contain the threat of higher inflation and higher interest rates.

A decade of workplace reform has reinforced Australia’s status as a nation with one of the highest minimum wages in the developed world.

This decision should not be taken as a green light for higher wage claims across the economy, which are not based on productivity gains.

Under Labor there is a risk of higher wage claims across the economy, supported by pattern bargaining, which would trigger higher inflation and disadvantage lower income earners.

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Media contact: Murray Hansen 0417 886 155