Australian bishops: Increase minimum wage to support low-paid workers
Australia’s bishops have called for a significant increase in the national minimum wage to support low-paid Australians and their families.
The Fair Work Commission, Australia’s labour regulator, “has failed to provide reasonable support for the hundreds of thousands of wage-dependent families who do not have a decent standard of living by contemporary standards,” the conference said in a 17th March statement.
The commission, which raised the minimum wage by 3.5 per cent in 2018, “has failed to alleviate the suffering and disadvantage of hundreds of thousands of children who are living in poverty in working families,” it said.
The value of the minimum wage, relative to national wage levels, has decreased significantly over the past two decades, the conference said.
In its submission to the commission, the bishops argue that the national minimum wage be increased to 20 Australian dollars (£10.76) an hour. The minimum wage is currently £10.18 before tax.
“Neither employers nor governments are doing enough to support low-paid Australians, and particularly Australian families,” the bishops said.
Picture: A homeless man begs for money on a street in Sydney on 14th October 2014. While the country has one of the world’s highest levels of average net wealth per person, nearly 3 million Australians, including more than 730,000 children, live in poverty. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters).