Audit’s an Assault on Low Paid Workers - Opposition
5 May 2014 at 11:39 am
The Federal Opposition says the National Commission of Audit recommendation to slash the minimum wage is an assault on Australia’s lowest paid workers.
As part of its 86 recommendations, the commission recommends that the Federal Government transition the minimum wage in each State and Territory to the lower of the 'Minimum Wage Benchmark' or 44 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings in that jurisdiction by 2023.
The Commission said that should this imply a reduction in the nominal minimum wage, the wage would instead be kept constant until aligned with 44 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings in that jurisdiction.
It also recommends transitioning to this new benchmark by indexing the current national minimum wage to grow in line with the Consumer Price Index less 1 percentage point for a period of 10 years.
Federal opposition spokesperson for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O’Connor said the Commission of Audit’s recommendation to slash the minimum wage was an assault on Australia’s lowest paid workers.
“Make no mistake, the Abbott Government’s agenda is crystal clear – a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is under threat,” O’Connor said.
“This radical recommendation rips up Australia’s strongly held value of fairness for all.
“This is an attack on our lowest paid workers while the highest paid remain untouched.
“The Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit is nothing but a blueprint on how to turn working families into the working poor.
“Tony Abbott needs to tell Australian workers whether he believes they should be paid a living wage.
“Families are already struggling with cost of living pressures from this government – like higher health insurance premiums, scrapping the Schoolkids Bonus and these will only be compounded by the proposed GP Tax and Tony Abbott’s Deceit Tax.
“Work Choices is on its way back under this Prime Minister.”
According to the National Commission of Audit report: “Australia's minimum wage is high by international standards. The Commission recommends that future growth in the minimum wage be contained to improve job opportunities.
“A degree of variation in the minimum wage should also be introduced across the States to better reflect local labour market conditions and the cost of living.”
To view Phase One of the National Commission of Audit report and its recommendations, click here.