Industry to benefit from minimum wage increase

With a recent report revealing that a majority of apprentices in the manufacturing industry have contemplated quitting their jobs because of poor wages, the new wage increase that went into effect on 1 July is good news – not only for the manufacturing industry, but for workers across all industries in Australia.

The wage increase of 2.9 per cent raised the minimum wage to $606.40 per week. This is an increase of $17.10 per week, which is almost $900 per year for a full-time worker, according to a government statement.

In spite the increase, many Australians feel they’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to wages keeping pace with inflation, citing that real inflation has been going up on average of 5 to 6% for the last five to ten years. They argue that it makes it difficult to pay for basics like food, power and gas. 

Government officials, of course, take a more optimistic view, citing that the wage increase is a “vote of confidence in the Australian economy, showing its underlying strength amid global uncertainty.”

Statistics show that the actual inflation rate in Australia was recorded at 1.60 per cent in March of this year. Overall, from 1973 to 2012, the country’s inflation rate has averaged 5.86%.

The products and services that contributed to a rise in inflation in the March 2012 quarter were pharmaceutical products (at +14.1%). This was followed by education expenses; automotive fuel; medical and hospital services; and rent.