ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media appearance: Radio interview - Changes to the minimum wage

1 June 2016

Interview with Susan Helyar, ACT Council of Social Services, about changes to the minimum wage.

Shaw says union bosses, students, and childhood educators like [Cassandra Duff, early childhood centre director] do not think the raise is good enough. Helyar says it is good that the Fair Work Commission recognised that there was a need for an increase, and a 2.4% will make some difference. Helyar says there will still be issues around cost of housing, cost of transport, and wages. Helyar discusses opportunities for students and young Australians to work in Canberra, and says nobody will complain about $15 more a week for an additional contribution to their expenses. Helyar discusses the positive implications of raising the minimum wage.

Shaw says the ACT government gets over $1bn of GST, but 'it is badly spent', and says the government does nothing for low income workers. Shaw discusses the increased demand of winter retail traffic. Helyar discusses advice for families to get out of the 'low income spiral', and says there is a role for individuals, government and businesses in increasing the capacity of low income households to cope with the cost of living. Helyar says low wage economies are low spending economies and this is not good for business. Shaw discusses the low unemployment figures, and says it is not a success of the Barr government.

Helyar discusses the importance of the tax reform package for the ACT budget, and the reliance of the ACT on Commonwealth funding. Helyar discusses rates increases, and explains that rates increase as the value of land and housing increases. Shaw discusses his concerns with the way the ACT government is releasing affordable land. Helyar discusses factors that have led to families being frozen out of housing affordability, and says it is important to consider land supply issues separately from tax and rates. Helyar discusses views on whether negative gearing increases supply. Shaw asks listeners if they are concerned about the increase.