Up to 2.8 million Australians will enjoy a pay rise from July 1 following the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review, a decision Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the Labor government fought for.
Earlier this month, the independent commission awarded minimum wage earners a 5.2 per cent increase or $40 a week, while modern award wages will increase by 4.6 per cent.
The top three industries who stand to benefit are health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and retail trade.
“This is a win for all of the hardworking Australians who’ve kept our communities and our economies going during the worst of the pandemic,” Dr Chalmers told AAP on Thursday.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
More women (59.1 per cent) stand to benefit from the pay rise than men (40.9 per cent), while almost two-thirds overall are part-time workers.
“With inflation at 21-year highs and real wages falling, many Australians are experiencing acute cost-of-living pressures,” Dr Chalmers said.
“That’s why the Albanese Labor Government made a submission to the Fair Work Commission recommending that the real wages of Australia’s low-paid workers do not go backwards.”
Employment Minister Tony Burke said the previous Morrison government deliberately did everything it could to keep wages low.
“That era is over for cleaners, for carers, for shop assistants – and for the other heroes of the pandemic who put themselves on the line to keep Australia functioning over the last two and a half years,” Mr Burke said.
“Workers know they now have a government that will show up and fight for them.”
At 5.2 per cent, the minimum wage award is a fraction above the annual rate of inflation at 5.1 per cent as of the March quarter.
However, the Reserve Bank of Australia does expect inflation to accelerate further, reaching seven per cent by the end of the year.