Boosting workers’ pay will help Australians not just to get by, but to get ahead

Prime Minister

My government is working to ensure no Australian is held back and no Australian is left behind.

That is why we’re recommending to the Fair Wage Commission’s Annual Wage Review that Australia’s low-paid workers do not go backwards.

Encouragingly, real wages have returned to growth and, for the first time in more than five years, real wages have grown for three consecutive quarters.

After a decade where stagnant wages were a deliberate design feature of the Liberals’ economic policy, it will take time for Australian workers to feel like they’re making headway.

That decade is behind us and a better future is within our reach, but in order to grasp it we have to tackle the challenges of the present.

Many Australians are feeling under pressure.

We’re working every day to provide relief – ensuring inflation is moderating and making sure prices are fair.

Because we want Australians not just to get by, but to get ahead.

We want to build an economy that works for people, not the other way around.

That’s at the heart of everything our government seeks to deliver for the people of Australia.

This is why helping with the cost of living remains our No.1 priority.

We’re delivering a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer from July 1.

All 13.6 million taxpayers – not just some.

Cheaper childcare, cheaper medicines and more bulk-billed trips to the doctor.

Direct energy bill relief, expanding paid parental leave and more than 355,000 fee-free TAFE places.

Boosting workers’ pay is another critical step to tackle cost-of-living pressures.

This is a commitment I took to the election.

During the campaign I was asked if I supported a wage rise for our lowest-paid workers.

My answer was unequivocal: “Absolutely.”

That is why in 2022 we put forward a submission to the Fair Work Commission to increase the wages of people who are on the minimum wage, and we were successful.

The result was a 5.2 per cent increase.

Last week we made our 2023-24 submission.

Our support for a strong minimum wage, our actions to promote secure work and gender pay equity, and a historic pay rise for aged-care workers, are all making a difference to wages and to lives.

Just as importantly, we’ve demonstrated wages growth and job creation can go together – with more than 790,000 new jobs created since we came to office.

There has been welcome progress on inflation, and we have seen a return to real wages growth earlier than forecast, but many Australians are still feeling the pinch – especially our low-paid workers.

Many of these workers were the heroes of the pandemic that kept our country going.

The cleaners, the aged-care workers, our childcare workers, our truck drivers, our retail workers.

We are proud to support these workers.

And like all Australian taxpayers they will benefit from Labor’s tax cuts, which take effect on July 1.

Those cuts will mean they will take home more with every pay packet, and that will make a real difference to households right across the country.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and the Liberal Party want Australians to work longer for less, but we take a different view.

Our economic plan is all about helping Australians earn more and keep more of what they earn.

We believe one of the best ways to ensure workers can deal with cost-ofliving pressures is to ensure they earn enough to provide for their loved ones and to get ahead.

And it is with that great spirit of the fair go that we can build Australia’s better future – together.

The Liberals want Australians to work longer for less. My team wants Australians to earn more and keep more of what they earn.

This opinion piece was first published in the Hobart Mercury on Wednesday, 3 April 2024.

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