Minimum Wage decision misses opportunity to kickstart economy

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Today’s Fair Work Commission decision for a $16 per week increase in the weekly minimum wage has missed an opportunity to inject life into a sluggish economy.

Unions say a higher minimum wage will inject more spending power into an economy being dragged down through the economic mismanagement of Abbott and Hockey.

Today’s Fair Work Commission minimum wage hearing heard submissions for an increase to the minimum weekly wage of between $5.70 and $27.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today show negative seasonally adjusted wages growth for the past month of -0.1 per cent.

The ABS says wages are growing at their slowest pace on record.

The minimum wage is now set at $17.29 per hour, or $656.90 per week, before tax.

QCU President John Battams said slow wages growth was holding back the economy.

 “Today’s decision is the only chance for a pay increase for over 1.8 million of Australia’s lowest paid workers, and helps set the pay and pay increases of many more.

“Unions believe that a $27 per week wage rise for our lowest paid workers is essential if Australia is to avoid creating an underclass of working poor.

“Those on the minimum wage spend every dollar of their income, so a more significant increase would have been a welcome surge of spending power across a fair greater spread of society.

“Targeting discretionary tax breaks at small business is simply not as effective, and already consumer confidence is stagnating after the federal Budget just three weeks ago,” he said.

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