Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Wages Slumping in Capricornia 'Slashing' Penalty Rates Impacts Spending Power

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Wages Slumping in Capricornia 'Slashing' Penalty Rates Impacts Spending Power

Article excerpt

Byline: Leighton Smith

NEW data has come to light explaining why Capricornia's workers are earning a wage and yet are struggling to make ends meet.

Real wages refers to the income of a worker after taking into consideration the effects of inflation on purchasing power.

Analysis of Australian Tax Office data by the Centre for Future Work on behalf of think-tank the Australian Institute, found that Capricornia's real wages fell by a cumulative total of 7.47 per cent between 2012-13 and 2016-17.

Average wages across the electorate, as reported on residents' personal income tax returns, grew by just 0.03% per year over the past four years -- well behind Queensland's average 1.99 per cent yearly increase in Queensland's consumer prices.

Economist and director of the Centre for Future Work and author of the report Dr Jim Stanford said their analysis confirmed that the wages crisis in Australia has been even worse than conventional ABS statistics suggested.

"Wages everywhere in Australia have performed very poorly, but some regions have been especially hard-hit. The electorate of Capricornia has been among the hardest hit of anywhere in the country," Dr Stanford said.

"Perhaps it is not a coincidence that some of the tightest contests in the current federal election are precisely in those communities where real wages have declined the most.

"The ATO statistics allow calculation of wage trends by electorate -- a level of detail that is not possible with other data sources. Public anger over cost-of-living issues is justified, given this hard evidence that real wages in these communities have fallen."

In addition to low wage growth findings, new research carried out by the McKell Institute revealed that $16.6 million had been cut from the wages of Rockhampton workers since the penalty rate cut was introduced in 2017.

The peak body for working people warned that penalty rates cuts would become even worse if the next round of cuts were to go ahead -- a situation that could only be avoided by a change of government. …

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