The nation’s largest business organisation, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and its 400,000-strong member network, has backed a 4 per cent wage increase, its highest ever, in its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review.
ACCI’s proposal would lift the minimum wage to $841.04 a week, with 3.5 per cent directed to ordinary earnings and 0.5 per cent for superannuation.
“Business supports a pay increase. But it must be one that is reasonable and responsible,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
“A 4 per cent wage increase gets the balance right. This not only accounts for growing cost of living pressures but also reflects the surging costs small businesses are facing every day.
“This wage case isn’t about the top end of town, it’s about small and family businesses which are the lifeblood of our local communities.
“As the ACTU president conceded in her National Press Club address on Tuesday, small businesses are ‘doing it tough’. A wages blowout will heap even more pressure on small and family businesses at a time when they can least afford it.
“Conditions across the economy remain disparate, and many small businesses continue to struggle. Award-reliant sectors like accommodation, hospitality, retail, administration, arts, and recreation sectors, have all experienced falling profits over the past two years.
“An inflation-matching increase risks inflicting more pain on our increasingly fragile economy. Small business cannot afford this risk, and workers cannot afford the consequent reversal in full and part-time jobs. Restraint now ensures greater benefits in the longer term.
“While Australia appears to have turned a corner on inflation, it still remains stubbornly high. An arbitrary increase to wages only means inflation and interest rates will remain higher, for longer, meaning more pain for all Australians.
Read the full submission here.