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Real wages keep growing under Labor

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Real wages keep growing under Labor

Annual real wages are now growing even more strongly after falling dramatically under the former government.

The Wage Price Index rose 0.8 per cent in the March quarter 2024, to be 4.1 per cent higher through the year. Annual real wages grew 0.5 per cent in the year to the March quarter 2024.

This wages growth is welcome, but we know people are still under pressure. 

That’s why cost-of-living help was front and centre in last night’s Budget, which delivers a tax cut for every taxpayer, provides new energy bill relief for every household, cuts student debt and increases rent assistance for nearly 1 million households. 

Today’s result means it is the first time in 15 years annual wages have grown faster than 4 per cent for three consecutive quarters. Annual wages did not grow by more than 4 per cent the entire time our predecessors were in office.

Under Labor, more people are working and earning more and from 1 July they will get to keep more of what they earn. 

Since the election, nominal wages have been growing at an annualised average of 3.9 per cent, compared to 2.2 per cent under our predecessors. 

The Liberals want people working longer for less, which meant real wages were falling 3.4 per cent when we came to office, after a decade of deliberate wage suppression and stagnation.

The Government’s cost-of-living policies have helped deliver faster annual real wage growth to workers sooner, by targeting inflation. 

The Budget estimates that our cost-of-living policies will directly reduce inflation by ¾ of a percentage point in 2023-24 and ½ of a percentage point in 2024-25. 

Since coming to Government, we have helped secure pay rises for minimum and award wage earners and changed the law to support secure jobs and better pay. 

In yesterday’s Budget we announced a provision of funding for increased award wages for aged care workers – building on the $11.3 billion we have already funded – and provisioned towards a wage increase for early childhood educators too. 

The Government is also funding more TAFE and university places to help train people in areas our economy needs them most and investing in a Future Made in Australia to create more secure, well-paid jobs in our suburbs and regions. 

We know Australians are still under the pump from high but moderating inflation and higher interest rates. 

That’s why our Budget was focussed on easing cost-of-living pressures on Australians, investing in our people and their capability and building a Future Made in Australia.

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