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Pay pledge: Albo backs hefty rise in wages to cope with inflation

Politics

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has made a bold wages pledge, backing a 5.1 per cent hike in the minimum wage in order to keep up with rising inflation.

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His comments come after a submission from the Australian Council of Trade Unions to the Fair Work Commission backing a rise in the minimum wage of 5.5 per cent.

While earlier Albanese did not say whether he supported the ACTU’s submissions, he indicated workers should not be left behind by the rising cost of living.

“You should be able to pay your rent, to buy food, to get by, and the Fair Work Commission should bear that in mind in the decision that they make,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“Labor has a plan to lift wages and that is what we will do.”

The ACTU wants an increase in the minimum wage from $20.33 to $21.45 an hour, or $42,384.84 a year.

Albanese said the minimum wage should keep up with the cost of living. The country’s inflation level has increased to 5.1 per cent, the highest in two decades.

“When the Fair Work Commission considers any minimum pay increase, people should not go backwards,” Albanese said.

“We have a government that have low wage growth as a key feature of their economic architecture, they’ve said that.”

Asked whether Albanese could make wages rise, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB: “He can’t do that. He has just been pulling people’s legs.”

Meanwhile, consumer advocated CHOICE says anxiety about the cost of food and groceries was at its highest level in seven years, with over four in five households reporting concern.

CHOICE’S latest Consumer Pulse survey has found the anxiety was at its highest in seven years and that 20 per cent of households reported they were struggling to get by on their present income.

CHOICE editor Marg Rafferty said the group’s Consumer Pulse data showed that cost-of-living pressures had become a major issue.

She said it was not hard to see why when almost 90 per cent of Australians believed the price of daily essentials was rising faster than their capacity to pay for them.

Choice has also released advice for people trying to make the most of their household budget, available on its website.

Among its recommendations is to not use buy-now, pay-later cards and wage-advance schemes unless users have secure finances.

Areas covered include saving at the supermarket, in the kitchen, and on energy and insurance bills. The guide also includes contact details for people facing financial hardship or who need to negotiate financial relief with banks and service providers.

 

 

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