The Fair Work Commission has announced a $40 a week increase to the National Minimum Wage, which amounts to an increase of 5.2 per cent, and a 4.6 per cent increase to minimum award wages, with a $40 minimum increase starting from 1 July.
The increases will impact many sectors of the economy, but bigger issues still remain for resources and energy employers who are fighting a national skilled labour crisis, says Steve Knott AM, Chief Executive, Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association (AREEA).
“[The] wage increases will add yet another substantial cost pressure to thousands of Australian businesses, particularly in lower-paid sectors, many of which are already struggling with diminishing margins, increased price of goods and skyrocketing energy bills.
“The resources and energy industry is far from immune to such increased costs of doing business, however the single biggest issue remains finding the people required to operate assets, build new projects and fulfil service contracts.
“With unemployment at its lowest in nearly half a century, the shortage of skilled labour is as much a crisis for our nation as energy supply, inflation and interest rates.
“On growth projections in our industry alone, this is only going to get much worse.
“The Australian resources and energy industry has over 350 prospective new projects in its investment pipeline. These projects would bring $420 billion in capital investment and create over 100,000 new construction and production jobs by 2027.
“Given the substantial national returns by way of resource royalties, company and payroll taxes, securing even a portion of these new projects would significantly assist with paying down Australia’s trillion-dollar debt and maintaining high living standards across the community.
“Many opportunities will be lost without a coordinated, multi-faceted response to the national skills crisis – an outcome AREEA is seeking to work with the Albanese Government, other business groups and unions to bring to fruition.”