Minimum Wage Boost Welcomed In Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government has welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase the minimum wage and award minimum wages in their Annual Wage Review.

Workers will get a $24.30-a-week pay rise with the national minimum wage increasing to $719.20 a week.

The Fair Work Commission has lifted the minimum wage by 3.5 per cent, increasing the hourly rate to $18.93.

In March the Labor Government called for an increase to award and minimum wages to tackle stagnating wage growth, rising inequality and to reduce cost of living pressures on Victorian families.

In its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, the Labor Government said the minimum hourly wage should be increased to $19 an hour – translating to a National Minimum Wage of $722 per week.

Today’s decision by the Fair Work Commission comes very close to the Government’s submission.

The number of award reliant employees in Victoria and Australia is increasing rapidly. In the six years from May 2010 to May 2016, award reliance has risen from 16.6 per cent to 25 per cent nationally.

Lower award wages are concentrated in specific sectors including retail, hospitality and cleaning, and disproportionately affect women, young people and some of our communities most vulnerable – including Aboriginal workers, older workers and workers living with a disability.

With a workforce increasingly reliant on award wages, the decision of the Commission in setting minimum wages has become even more important, particularly in a period of stagnant wage growth.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“I welcome today’s Fair Work Commission decision. Victorians who rely on minimum and award wages deserve a pay rise – it’s as simple as that.”

“This would be a better outcome if the Liberal Party had not supported cutting penalty rates for vulnerable workers – those workers are still falling behind.”