Australia's Minimum Wage Is Getting A (Slight) Boost

The Fair Work Commission has just approved lifting the national minimum wage by 2.4 per cent. This translates to an extra $15.80 per week. We look at when the pay bump kicks in, whether it's fair and how many people get it.

The Fair Work Commission will boost the national minimum wage to $672.70 a week or $17.70 an hour, up from $656.90 and $17.29, respectively. Wages will increase from the beginning of financial year 2016-17 (July 1). More than 1.8 million Australians will receive the increase.

This is significantly lower than the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)'s push for $18.07 per hour. Business groups, meanwhile, had been lobbying for an increase of just $7.90 to $10.50 per week.

While the pay bump will surely be welcomed by minimum-wage earners — many of whom live below the poverty line — it's still a modest increase by any definition of the word; especially when you take inflation into account. According to the ACTU, the real wage increase is actually closer to $6 per week, which is barely enough for milk and a loaf of bread.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ wage price index, Australian workers’ wages are growing at the slowest rate on record. Indeed, this year's wage lift is slightly lower than the previous financial year, when the minimum wage increased by 2.5 per cent.

With that said, having enough extra dough for milk and bread each week will make a big difference to some. Tell us what you think in the comments.


    They'll need to extra cash to pay union fees.

    This just bloody stupid, people just getting by on minimum wage need more than a 40c per hour raise that is actually more like 25c when all is said and done. Raise the price of the product you're selling and give these people a decent living wage. No one should have to work more hours, or even harder, only to find themselves still skating on the poverty line.

    Last edited 01/06/16 8:31 am

      McDonalds (and similar jobs) is not a career path unless you manage the store. You don't deserve the money that you currently get, let alone over $17.

      These are stepping stone jobs for people in school/fresh out of school. I agree with living wages for other jobs, but blanket living wages for all jobs is the stupidest thing a country could be doing.

        I'm talking about mums and dads and others with minimal educations, that are struggling to put food into their kid's mouths, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads. Not kids earning pocket money, or whatever the hell gratuities are called nowadays.

          If you're so poorly educated you can't work a proper job, don't have kids. Go learn a trade - no degree required and a fairly nice hourly rate to compensate for your troubles.

          Increasing minimum wage isn't the answer, increasing the education budget is.

            Definitely agree about education, but saying poorly educated people shouldn't have kids is just a little bit too dystopian. Besides who would do all those crappy jobs if we didn't have a class of people who can't make it out of poverty. With education, their kids can hopefully get a leg up out of that situation. But letting them just skate along on that poverty line is just bloody cruel.

            Last edited 03/06/16 1:01 pm

              Who would do the job? Any student after some extra cash. The so called crappy jobs are not careers, they are stepping stones. If we were talking about individual award rates for various roles, this would be a vastly different conversation and we'd likely be agreeing.

              However, this is a blanket increase to minimum wage. All it does is incentivise automation. $35k on a machine to churn out burgers or $35k worker who isn't as efficient? Robots don't get holiday pay either.

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