21 June 2022

Mixed reaction to minimum wage increase in Wagga

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Cotmakers on Baylis owner Bradley Blackburn

Cotmakers on Baylis owner Bradley Blackburn. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Wagga Wagga small business owner Bradley Blackburn believes frontline workers deserve an increase in wages more than retail workers.

Reacting to the Fair Work Commission decision to increase the national minimum wage, Mr Blackburn said frontline workers should be taken care of first.

“What has he (Prime Minister Anthony Albanese) given them (frontline workers)? Nothing near what they’ve asked,” he said.

“I think if there was anyone needing a wage increase, it’s frontline workers.”

The Fair Work Commission decision will increase the national minimum wage by $40 a week (5.2 per cent), from 1 July 2022.

The hourly rate will increase to $21.38 or $812.60 per week.

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The owner of Cotmakers on Baylis said he doesn’t disagree with the wage increase, but COVID-19 has already significantly impacted retail and many other industries.

Mr Blackburn said Prime Minister Albanese was being “very generous with other people’s money” rolling out the 5.2 per cent wage increase.

“We (small business owners) have to increase the person’s wage, super, and tax,” he said.

“He (Prime Minister) says he cares about small business, but our wages, super, tax, and energy costs are all going up.

“Where’s the rebate for us? Thank you, Mr Albanese, you’ve done very well in five minutes.”

Girl with gelato

Local Gelatissimo employee Holly Formosa. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Gelatissimo employee Holly Formosa said the government should be lowering taxes rather than increasing the minimum wage.

“It’s the taxes that are the issue,” she said.

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“Once the wages go up, small businesses struggle to pay their employees, and they will have to increase their prices because of it.

“But if we lower the taxes, we’re still going to have the same amount of money.”

The 17-year-old doesn’t think she will be better off with the wage increase.

“I’m still going to be paying the same amount of tax,” said Miss Formosa, who started working at the age of 15.

CTC employee Alex Collins

CTC employee Alex Collins. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

On the other hand, local CTC employee Alex Collins is looking forward to the increase in the minimum wage.

“Your pay has to keep up with inflation,” Mr Collins said.

He hopes with the increase in wages he will be able to save some money.

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