JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
HARDWORKING LOCALS DESERVE A PAY RISE
When was the last time you got a pay rise?
It’s a simple question but the answer points to a problem that’s been holding back our community and economy long before the pandemic.
Even as the economy recovers - and right when the costs of essentials like petrol, rent and childcare are skyrocketing – local workers’ real wages are actually going backwards.
Put simply, we’re paying more but we’re earning less.
While the costs of living rose by 3.5 per cent over the past year, wages lagged behind on 2.3 per cent – which means real wages have continued to fall by 1.2 per cent.
That growing gap is why more and more of our working families are finding it harder to make ends meet, and why a lot of families I chat with moving about our community are anxious about a rise in interest rates.
This isn’t a new problem though, wages growth has been at or near record lows for much of the LNPs’ decade in office.
Wage growth has been lower every year under this Coalition Government and average real wage growth under the LNP has been almost a third of what it was under the last Labor Government.
The McKell Institute has found that an average worker would be earning an additional $307 per week if the wage growth achieved under Labor between 2007-2013 had been sustained through 2014-2021.
That’s almost an extra $16,000 per year in the pockets of our local workers, flowing through to local businesses.
Our economy and our community can and must be stronger after the pandemic than it was before, with more opportunities for more of our people.
That’s why we’ve got positive policies to help take the pressure of families - lowering power prices, making childcare cheaper for 97 per cent of families, and getting wages growing again.
The absolute priority must be making sure that Australians who work hard can actually get ahead and properly provide for their loved ones.
Because it’s not a real recovery if real wages are going down, the costs of living are going up, and families in our community are going backwards.
Jim Chalmers is the federal Shadow Treasurer and Labor Member for Rankin
This opinion piece was published in the Jimboomba Times on Monday, 28 February 2022