Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Careers

Rise of WA Minimum Wage is ‘Not Enough’


16 June 2017 at 5:01 pm
Wendy Williams
The peak body for the social service sector in WA has said the $16-a-week rise for the state's lowest paid workers is welcome, but is not enough.


Wendy Williams | 16 June 2017 at 5:01 pm


0 Comments


 Print
Rise of WA Minimum Wage is ‘Not Enough’
16 June 2017 at 5:01 pm

The peak body for the social service sector in WA has said the $16-a-week rise for the state’s lowest paid workers is welcome, but is not enough.

The state Industrial Relations Commission announced on Wednesday there would be an increase to the minimum wage in Western Australia to $708.90 week.

The increase, which comes into effect on 1 July, is expected to benefit more than 100,000 low-paid workers.

But the WA Council of Social Service (WACOSS) expressed concern that the increase was insufficient to arrest growing inequality within Western Australia.

WACOSS CEO Louise Giolitto said that for many, the state minimum wage was “simply not enough” to meet living costs, particularly for singles and single parents.

“More and more people in our state are struggling to cover basic essentials like their utility bills, with the last year seeing a significant increase in electricity and gas customers seeking assistance, and further significant price hikes already indicated for the coming state budget,” Giolitto said.

“Poverty is a profound social determinant of health and psychological well being. And at the same time, the evidence shows that inequality is a brake on economy growth and sustainability.

“We know from the latest Anglicare rental survey that singles in Perth are only able to find 1 per cent of available rentals that are appropriate and affordable for them, with single parents looking at just 6 per cent. A minimum wage that is only able to cover rental expenses when you have a second source of income is clearly not adequate.”

Her sentiments were echoed by UnionsWA which labelled the increase of $16 as “disappointing” and a “missed opportunity of economic fairness”.

UnionsWA secretary Meredith Hammat said economically, times were “pretty tough in WA right now”.

“This pay decision is particularly disappointing as it is a missed opportunity,” Hammat said.

“Low paid working people spend all that they earn on essential living expenses and so increasing their pay would provide a much-needed boost to our local economy.”

Hammat said wages growth in WA was the weakest it had been in the last three decades and for the past three years, had been lower than wages growth nationally.

“While any wage increase is welcome, a $16 per week increase, equal to a 2.3 per cent increase, still leaves low-paid workers well behind compared to average weekly earnings,” she said.

“UnionsWA had recommended a flat $45 per week increase for the lowest paid in WA, equal to a 6.5 per cent for a full-time adult on the minimum wage.

“There are more people working casual or part time jobs than ever.

“About 100,000 working people in WA rely on the minimum wage and live week to week, with no spare change.”

WACOSS called for the state government to overturn changes to community service funding, which they said was creating “a growing gap between the need to deliver wage increases to low-paid community workers and inadequate indexation of service funding”.

“Community service funding has only been indexed at 0.83 per cent, compared to the $16 per week or 2.3 per cent increases under the state wage decision, 3.3 per cent under the federal minimum wage decision and even higher rate increases under the ERO – meaning that some providers may be forced to reduce the quality or level of services delivered to our most vulnerable to keep their doors open,” Giolitto said.

“The majority of our workforce are women undertaking challenging and skilled work with those in need for comparatively little reward.

“We are calling on the premier to re-instate the policy of the previous WA Labor government that saw service funding linked to wages to ensure the sustainability of service for our community.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Advertisement

Virtual Congress - CPA Australia

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

How to nail a job interview when you’re out of practice

Maggie Coggan

Friday, 30th October 2020 at 2:01 pm

Opening up about mental health at work

Mike Davis

Monday, 26th October 2020 at 6:47 pm

Making room for change through challenges

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 26th October 2020 at 8:35 am

How to prototype your career as a social innovator

Contributor

Monday, 26th October 2020 at 8:21 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×