Some employers are crying foul over the $A21.66 increase in Australia's minimum wage, bringing the minimum weekly wage to $A543.78. I cannot agree.
Very few Australians are on the minimum wage. Those that are would be hard pressed to rent accommodation in the private market place plus pay for food.
Australia used to have the concept of the basic wage. As originally envisaged, this was meant to be the amount that a family with a single wage earner could live on. Pretty obviously, $543.78 is a long way removed from the concept of a basic wage.
Employers are worried that the increase in the minimum wage will flow on to those higher up the change. This is a legitimate worry. However, it has to be put in perspective.
The gap between the bottom and the top has been widening. If Australia cannot afford to pay its lowest income earners a wage that will allow them to at least survive in minimum comfort, then we have a real social problem.
I would argue that we need to look at a new approach that will allow all Australians to share to some degree in our growth. Without this, we are a pretty poor society.