National wage decision a further challenge for NSW businesses

The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the increase to the minimum wage announced by the Fair Work Commission could cost NSW business owners an extra $1 billion per year.

The Fair Work Commission has increased the minimum wage by 3% from 1 July.

“Business owners across the state are already grappling with high energy costs, and in many cases the impacts of the drought, and this is just another blow to their long term viability,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Officer Stephen Cartwright.

“Despite what you will hear from the Union movement, business groups supported a lift to the minimum wage. In fact, the NSW Business Chamber actually proposed a rise of 2.3%, higher than CPI and much higher than the rate put forward by other employer associations, because we believed that this figure was both affordable and sustainable,” Mr Cartwright said.

“What this decision again highlights is that we need to get serious about how we deliver sustainable increases in real wages, and to do this we need measures to increase productivity and to remove the complexity associated with the existing IR system that restricts employers and employees from having constructive discussions around issues related to their employment.

“The Federal Election campaign went by without any real discussions on the future of Workplace Relations, with none of the major parties prepared to propose serious reform that the entire community has been crying out for.

“Reducing barriers to employing young people ought to be a priority, and aggressive increases to the minimum wage and other onerous requirements make it even harder for employers.

“Hopefully when Parliament resumes in July, Prime Minister Morrison will make Workplace Relations reform a key plank of this term of Government,” Mr Cartwright said.

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