Submission to the Annual Wage Review 2023-24

Policies, Publications & Submissions - March 28, 2024

The ACTU submits that the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review should increase National Minimum and Award Wages by 5% from 1 July 2024.

This increase would provide much needed cost of living relief for the 2.9 million workers that now rely on minimum and award wages; the majority of who are low paid, female and facing record levels of financial stress. While last year’s increase was a welcome move to restore real wage growth for these workers, and inflation is coming down, there is still significant work to be done.  The ACTU claim would see more progress towards restoring these loses and continue progress towards returning Australia’s minimum wage to also being a living wage.  In addition, there is a historic opportunity this year to make significant progress towards gender pay equality by making specific adjustments to particular modern awards to progressively address gender-based undervaluation. 

The real economic headwind is declining consumer spending, especially on discretionary items, as workers have been forced to tighten their belts. As this submission demonstrates, that there is any growth in domestic consumption is due to spending by inbound migration. Delivering real and fair wage growth will be critical to addressing this fragile situation.

Depending on the measure, labour productivity has either returned to or is slightly above pre-pandemic levels, as the disruptions of Covid and subsequent recovery have worked their way out of the system, an analysis confirmed by the Productivity Commission in its Annual Bulletin for 2024. 1 Strong growth in business investment, and the Government’s productivity agenda should also give the Fair Work Commission confidence that the ACTU claim can be easily sustained.

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