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Fair Work Commission Upholds 3.75% Increase in Australia’s Minimum and Award Wages to Tackle Cost-of-Living Pressures

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Minimum and Award Wages

Fair Work Commission Upholds 3.75% Increase in Australia’s Minimum and Award Wages to Tackle Cost-of-Living Pressures

 

In a significant move aimed at bolstering the economic security of Australian workers, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced a 3.75% increase in both the minimum and award wages, effective from July 1. This decision, following extensive deliberation, reflects a multifaceted approach to address prevailing cost-of-living challenges while fostering equitable economic growth.

The national minimum wage is set to rise to $24.10 per hour and $915.91 per week, based on a standard 38-hour workweek. This increment, amounting to approximately $33 extra per week, is poised to benefit approximately 2.6 million workers nationwide, constituting approximately 20.7% of the Australian workforce.

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The FWC’s decision is underpinned by a thorough assessment of prevailing economic conditions, with a keen focus on ensuring that wage adjustments align with forecasted wages growth for the year 2024. This strategic approach seeks to strike a balance between addressing immediate cost-of-living pressures and facilitating sustainable wage growth in the long term.

Furthermore, the commission’s rationale acknowledges the unique vulnerabilities faced by workers reliant on modern award minimum wages. These employees, often engaged in part-time, casual, or predominantly female-dominated roles, constitute a significant portion of those affected by the wage increase. By providing a modest real wage boost, the decision aims to uplift the economic wellbeing of these segments of the workforce, thereby fostering greater income equality.

However, the FWC’s deliberations also took into account the broader economic landscape, recognizing the diverse impacts of the wage increase across different industries and sectors. While overall labour market conditions remain robust, certain sectors face distinct challenges, necessitating a nuanced approach to wage adjustments to ensure sustained growth and stability.

In response to the ruling, stakeholders from various quarters have articulated their perspectives. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has welcomed the decision, hailing it as a significant victory for workers’ rights and economic justice. Conversely, business organisations have expressed apprehensions regarding the potential impact on operational costs, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grappling with existing margin pressures.

For SME owners like Edward Clayton, the wage increase presents a dual-edged dilemma. While recognising the imperative of fair wages to address cost-of-living pressures and retain a motivated workforce, he also confronts the challenge of balancing increased labor costs with maintaining competitive pricing strategies.

Against this backdrop, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy has emphasised the importance of ensuring that wage growth remains in line with inflation, thereby safeguarding macroeconomic stability. While the wage increase serves as a crucial mechanism to address immediate affordability concerns for workers, policymakers remain vigilant against potential inflationary risks, underscoring the imperative of productivity-driven growth to support sustainable economic outcomes.

As the wage increase takes effect, its ripple effects are poised to reverberate across the economic landscape, shaping consumer spending patterns, business operations, and overall market dynamics. While providing much-needed relief for workers grappling with escalating living expenses, the decision underscores the intricate interplay between wage policies, economic resilience, and the pursuit of inclusive prosperity for all Australians.

 

For more business news, click here.

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Lismore’s 76% occupancy rate a sign of positive recovery

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Lismore’s 76% occupancy rate a sign of positive recovery

 

By Samantha Elley

Lismore’s business districts are slowly gaining momentum as they get on with flood recovery.

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The latest shop to open, Trident Fish & Grill, in Keen Street was celebrated last week and was symbolic of the city’s recovery and rebirth of the CBD.

“As a council, we are very focused on economic recovery,” said Mayor Steve Krieg.

“It’s not just about the CBD, it’s about the South Lismore industrial estate and North Lismore and all the areas so badly affected.

“But a really optimistic sign is we are back up to 76 per cent occupancy in the CBD across the block.

“That varies from street to street… and that’s a real positive sign in only two and a half years.”

Cr Krieg said it was also a call out to anyone looking to invest in the Lismore CBD.

“Chris and the Trident group started in Ballina,” he said.

“Then up to Alstonville and now they have expanded their network into the Lismore CBD.

“Any other businesses that are looking at relocating or expanding, Lismore is well and truly open for business.”

The mayor is encouraging any new business to hurry up and set up in Lismore before it’s too late.

“I say to many potential investors, if you don’t have a footprint in Lismore over the next 12-18 months you are going to regret it,” he said.

“Because you won’t get one and the prices are going to skyrocket.

“Talk to Lismore City Council …we are really proactive in everything we are doing to trying to get people back into the CBD and get our industrial estate up to full occupancy.

“We want you here, we will do everything we can to help you get here.”

An audit held by Lismore City Council in the week of June 17, of shopfront and upstairs premises in the CBD, showed the positive growth of businesses, despite the increased cost of living pressures.

“It was always going to be slow increases once we hit 70 per cent occupancy but to reach an impressive 76.8 per cent by June 2024 is great news,” said Cr Krieg.

“And with the Worker’s Club soon to reopen, it really is the time to invest in Lismore.”

Recent SpendMapp data has also signalled growth in the number of people visiting the business centres.

Total spend was up 10 per cent in the CBD in May, compared to the same time last year. This included a 20.9 per cent increase in dining and entertainment, a 9.6 per cent jump in professional services, 1.8 per cent increase in general retail and 2.3 per cent increase in food retail.

Occupancy rates across Lismore CBD

  • Keen Street – 82.4 per cent, up from 81.1 per cent
  • Magellan Street – 81.7 per cent up from 76.3 per cent
  • Conway Street – 77.3 per cent up from 72.1 per cent
  • Carrington Street – 77.3 per cent up from 73.1 per cent
  • Molesworth Street – 77 per cent up from 74 per cent
  • Woodlark Street – 65 per cent up from 60.7 per cent

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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NSW Government Allocates $500,000 to Boost Women-Led Social Enterprises

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NSW Government Allocates $500,000 to Boost Women-Led Social Enterprises

 

The NSW Government has allocated $500,000 to the Social Enterprise Council of NSW and ACT (SECNA) for a two-year initiative to support women-led social enterprises. This effort is part of the Women in Business Networks (WIBN) grant program, launched in 2023 to empower women economically by backing women-led businesses.

Under the WIBN program, $2 million has been earmarked over four years to help women in small businesses build capacity and leverage formal networks. The 2024 WIBN grant focuses on assisting women in starting or expanding social enterprises in NSW.

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SECNA’s Role in Empowering Women

This year’s grant recipient, SECNA, will support 500 women, including those with disabilities and from culturally and racially marginalised communities. The Women in Social Enterprise project aims to connect these women with other social entrepreneurs, fostering robust networks across key sectors and industries. These networks will enable women to share experiences, access resources, and support each other’s success.

Building a Supportive Network

The project will establish a network of champions across NSW, serving as key contacts for women looking to start or build their social enterprises. These champions will host local face-to-face networking events and connect women to necessary resources and support. Participants will also have access to advice through an online community for peer support and virtual webinars. Expert advice and collaboration opportunities will help women overcome challenges and set up their social enterprises for success.

For more information about the WIBN grant program, visit the NSW Women in Business Networks website. Women interested in starting or growing their social enterprises can register for SECNA’s program on the SECNA website.

Government and SECNA Statements

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison emphasised the importance of empowering women in business:

“Our government is committed to empowering women in business to seize opportunities to succeed financially and independently, as well as making it easier for like-minded women to connect and share their knowledge and expertise. The Women in Business Networks grant is designed to support women who are on an exciting path of entrepreneurship and are set to flourish with a little extra support. This grant ensures that women-led businesses can continue to go from strength to strength, not only achieving their own goals but inspiring others to begin their own business journeys.”

 

For more business news, click here.

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Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

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Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

 

By Samantha Elley

If you’ve been wondering about the new store on River Street in Ballina, wonder no further.

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Beefy’s Pies have made their way down from the Sunshine Coast ready to fill the bellies of Northern Rivers locals.

These award winning pies have crossed the border, opening its first NSW store at 166-172 River Street, Ballina.

“We’re excited to receive a warm welcome from the Ballina and Northern Rivers community so far and can’t wait to have everyone in store to taste the Beefy’s difference,” says Jason Lyons, General Manager – Operations at Beefy’s.

“Beefy’s will bring its full range of award-wining pies, sausage rolls, sweets and coffee to the Northern Rivers community, making it a go-to destination for travellers and locals alike.

“Our new Ballina team can’t wait to get to know everyone by name, pie and coffee order. Our opening weekend is the best way to kick this off, but we’ll be teaming up with the local community to support businesses, events and groups in the future with our Pie Drives and fundraising events.”

While the store opened its doors on Friday, 28th June, the official Beefy’s Ballina community launch is Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July with one-weekend only deals and children’s entertainment on offer.

Ballina is Beefy’s 10th store and the first in in New South Wales. It joins locations across South-East Queensland including Gympie, Traveston, Maroochydore, Buderim, Kawana, Aussie World, Glasshouse, Mango Hill and Ningi.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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