Fair Work Commission ruling adds pressure to Premier’s position

Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas says that the decision of the Fair Work Commission to increase the National Minimum Wage by 5.2% has added to the pressure on Mark McGowan to reassess his own wages policy.

“The Fair Work Commission has today announced that the national minimum wage will go up by $40 a week, or 5.2%, which means that the nation’s lowest paid workers will see a rise slightly above the latest national inflation rate” Dr Thomas said.

“This means that some workers will not be going backwards in real terms.

“This increase leaves the WA Premier looking more and more isolated in his wages policy, especially given the massive budget surpluses the Government is getting, thanks mainly to high iron ore royalties.”

“We also need to remember that the latest annual inflation rate in Western Australia was 7.6%, which was nearly 50% higher than the national figure of 5.1%, so the impact on our workers is even greater, and a 5.2% increase for Western Australian minimum wage earners here is not actually keeping pace with our state’s inflation.”

Dr Thomas repeated his position that the Government would need to review its wages policy given the rising inflation levels its impacts on workers.

“The McGowan Government must justify its current wages position, including a reduction in real wages for many, to its own workers as it continues to amass a mountain of cash for its own political benefit.” Dr Thomas said.

“It is sitting on more than $20 billion in surpluses over five years, so it can well and truly afford a range of measures to mitigate rising costs of living, and also invest in economic reform.

“No Government in the world has more capacity to do so.”