Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Questions without Notice


2:43 pm

Photo of Katy GallagherKaty Gallagher (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Public Service) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for the question. The point I was making yesterday was that we don't expect wages to grow at the rate of inflation as it currently is now. You'll see from the budget papers—I think it's in the 2024-25 financial year—that we are expecting wages to move ahead of inflation.

That is what the budget papers say, but I was responding to a question about wages moving at the rate of inflation as inflation currently is. I think you wouldn't find anybody, including on your side, that would be arguing for wage increases in the order of eight per cent, I would imagine—because that would cause other problems that we are trying to avoid.

At the moment wages are not impacting on inflation. The increase in inflation is largely down to energy costs caused by the war in Ukraine and by some of those supply chain shortages that we have seen coming out of the pandemic. We are taking a responsible position in relation to wages. We want to get wages moving—that's why we have the industrial relations bill before the parliament. We want to see an end to the wage stagnation decade that was overseen by the former government. We've made no secret that we want to deal with wage inequality in low-paid, feminised industries, and the budget papers clearly outline the wage forecasts over the forward estimates. They will remain below inflation for the first two years and then they will gradually increase to a point above inflation in that third year.


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