Australian federal gov't urges to increase minimum wage

17:11, May 17, 2010      

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The Australian federal government on Monday asked the independent workplace umpire, Fair Work Australia (FWA), to increase the minimum wage.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the federal government has made a submission calling for a rise.

"We have said to the Fair Work Australia minimum wages panel that we believe that there should be a considered real increase for workers," Gillard told reporters in Brisbane.

"We obviously want working people to get a fair share, and we' ve put that submission in."

The minimum wage was stalled at 543.78 dollars (475.24 U.S. dollars) a week last year in the first pay freeze in 15 years.

Gillard said because low-income earners missed out last year, they deserve an increase this time.

"We need to remember, of course, there was no minimum wages increase last time, so in those circumstances we do believe it is appropriate for the independent umpire to consider an increase," Gillard said.

Gillard said FWA would consider the impact on businesses, and changes would not be adopted if the impact was too great.

"There is always a balance here, and in weighing up the balance our independent umpire will look at fairness to low-income Australians and competition and national economy questions," Gillard said.

Fair Work Australia is holding a hearing in Melbourne on Monday to consider raising the base pay rate for low-income earners.

Fair Work Australia's annual wage review decision is due to be announced by early July.

Source: Xinhua
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