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Australia's minimum wage rises by 2.5% – here's how much you'll get

Cameron Carpenter

Australia's minimum wage is rising from $19.84 an hour to $20.33 an hour.

Australia's lowest-paid workers are getting a pay rise following a review of minimum wages.

The minimum wage will increase by 2.5%, from $19.84 an hour to $20.33 an hour, or $772.60 a week, following a review by the Fair Work Commission. The wage increase amounts to an extra $18.80-a-week.

The pay rise usually comes into effect from July 1, but many workers in industries hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic will not see the wage boost until November.

Workers in aviation, tourism, hospitality, gyms, events, and hairdressers will not see wage increases until November 1 to guard against future lockdown risks, and general retail workers will have to wait until September 1.

The Fair Work Commission reviews the minimum wage annually. Last year it granted a 1.7% increase – the lowest in 12 years. This year's 2.5% is less than the 3.5% wanted by unions, but more than the 1.1% sought by employer groups.

Explaining the decision, Fair Work President Justice Iain Ross says this year's economic conditions are very different from last year when the pandemic was at its peak.

'The broad consensus is the current performance of the economy has exceeded expectations, and the economic recovery is well underway,' he said.

But he also highlighted there are still ongoing risks that could hurt the Australian economy, including more domestic covid outbreaks and ongoing disruptions to other major economies.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus says while the increase is good, it does not keep up with rising living costs.

'While the pay increase of 2.5% is a lot more than what the employers and the government had argued for, it doesn't keep up with the essentials,' she said.

'At the moment, those essentials that are going up more than 2.5%are fuel, medicine, rent, all of these things are essentials people have no choice other than to spend money on.'

On the other hand, the Australian Chamber of Commerce's acting CEO Jenny Lambert called the decision 'premature and irresponsible.'

She said that while many big businesses were doing well, many small businesses were still struggling, especially in the retail, food, and accommodation sectors.

'This is a bitter pill to swallow for the approximately 230,000 small and family-owned businesses which dominate these particular sectors,' she said.

'Australians who have managed to battle on through, keep their business afloat, and keep people in work now face a highly risky hike in wages – always their biggest cost.'

Australia has the highest minimum wage of any country in the OECD.