Wages grow at fastest rate in more than a decade

Government data shows aggregate wages grew 4.0 per cent in the year to September 2023.

Government data shows aggregate wages grew 4.0 per cent in the year to September 2023. Photo: AAP

Wages have increased at their fastest rate since 2009 following a decade of unusually slow growth.

Aggregate wages grew 4.0 per cent in the year to September 2023, according to government data released on Monday.

Wages in the lowest paid and second lowest paid categories increased by 6.7 per cent and 5.0 per cent respectively during the same period.

All pay groups except the highest bracket recorded their largest quarterly growth since 2009, with a 4.6 per cent quarterly jump for the lowest earners.

Still challenging real wage growth is inflation, with the consumer price index currently more than five per cent – compared with the RBA’s target range of between two and three per cent.

A mid-year federal budget update released in December forecast wage growth to move ahead of inflation by early this year.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers credited his government’s policies with getting wages moving faster than under the previous 10 years of coalition leadership.

“Securing meaningful, responsible, sustainable wages growth is central to our economic plan – and our approach has been tailored to support lowest-paid workers doing it toughest,” he said.

“After a decade of deliberate wage stagnation under the coalition, our policies are helping to get wages growing again.”

The government said the federally funded pay rise for aged care workers – who received a 15 per cent boost from June 2023 – had contributed to wages growth.

In 2022, the government introduced amendments to the Fair Work Act intended to improve pay and job security, including prohibiting pay secrecy.

“From minimum wage earners to middle Australia, our government is providing relief for working people across the board, which is why we’re focused on strong and sustainable wages growth and rolling out billions of dollars in cost-of-living relief,” Dr Chalmers said.


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