Australia lifts minimum wage as families grapple with higher living costs

By Thomson Reuters Jun 2, 2024 | 8:35 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s independent wage-setting body on Monday raised the national minimum wage by 3.75%, largely in line with inflation, as families tackle soaring living costs.

The minimum rate will rise to A$24.10 ($16.05) per hour from July 1, resulting in an extra A$33 per week for about a fifth of the Australian workforce or about 2.6 million employees.

In its annual review, the Fair Work Commission said cost-of-living pressures have hit low-income employees the most, though inflation is considerably lower now than it was at this time last year, when it awarded an increase of 5.75%.

But the report said it was not “appropriate at this time to increase award wages by any amount significantly above the inflation rate principally because labour productivity is no higher than it was four years ago.”

Australian consumer price inflation rose at an annual pace of 3.6% in April, the highest level in five months, adding to risks the next move in interest rates might be upward.

($1 = 1.5020 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)