Wage decision unaffordable for Queensland businesses struggling with rising costs
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has today expressed profound disappointment in Fair Work Australia’s Minimum Wage decision to increase minimum wages by 2.9% which equates to a $17.10 per week increase to the Federal Minimum Wage.
Whilst lower than last year and well below the ACTU’s $26 per week claim today’s decision is a significant blow for many struggling businesses at a time when economic conditions remain weak and uncertain, particularly in award reliant industries.
CCIQ, on behalf of Queensland businesses, strongly argued for a wage increase of less than $9 per week due to serious concerns regarding the inability of many Queensland businesses to fund a wage increase and/or pass that increase onto their customers.
The Minimum Wage Panel’s decision will jeopardise the performance of the economy and reduce the ability of employers to employ and retain staff, especially in light of the promised cut in the company tax rate not being delivered in this year’s Federal budget.
CCIQ is very concerned about the diminishing capacity of thousands of small and medium businesses to absorb the continual onslaught of increasing business costs.
The cost imposts for the coming financial year, including the carbon price, rising electricity prices, transitional arrangements associated with modern awards, and the increasing costs associated with implementing the Fair Work Act, are just the tip of the iceberg of concerns raised by Queensland businesses.
Businesses require time to adjust to rising business costs in an environment where many consumers are price sensitive, otherwise business insolvency figures will continue to rise.
Decisions like these are providing Queensland businesses with limited options but to implement cost cutting measures, which are likely to result in reduced employment. Indeed 90% of
Queensland businesses have told us that they will look to reduce their employment levels as a result of this decision.
Continuing to increase minimum wages at levels seen over the past few years is unsustainable and will decrease the competitiveness and profitability of small and medium businesses which are employing thousands of Queenslanders.
CCIQ believes it is irresponsible of Fair Work Australia to award a substantial increase in minimum wages in an environment where so many businesses are struggling to maintain their current employment levels and maintain their viability for the long term.
In the current business environment, CCIQ believes that jobs are more important than a substantial increase in wages.
Obviously Fair Work Australia and the Unions have a different opinion.