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Monday, May 23, 2022

Cost of living pressures to determine election outcome: UnitingCare insight

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Workers have missed out on up to $680 a fortnight in pay over the past decade amid the rising cost of living according to new analysis by UnitingCare Australia.

Launching its 2022 Australian Election Policy Platform, the community service organisation analysed the lost income across each of Australia’s 151 federal electorates.

The study has revealed the nation’s employees are between $7000 and $17,700 worse off this year, due to wage increases of only 2.5 per cent between 2012-2022.

In the five years before 2012, wages increased by 4.5 per cent.

It’s prompted the community service organisation to urge each political party to adopt three policies at the upcoming federal election worth $4.71 billion.

These include a $60 million national stagnant incomes inquiry to provide policy options on how to drive wage growth, a $4.4 billion annual increase in aged care wages, and paid superannuation on parental leave costing $250 million each year.

UnitingCare Australia national director Claerwen Little said low wages growth had placed a “cap” on improving living standards for millions of people across the country.

“Aspirations for shared prosperity in Australia are unravelling under the sustained, twin trends of weak wages growth and rising asset prices,” she said.

“The lottery of birth place and circumstance have never been more important in the creation of wealth in the 21st century, while our skills and effort at work have never been less relevant,” Little said.

The research looked at how each policy could impact each of Australia’s federal electorates. It found NSW was over-represented with seats having older communities who had lost the most financially over the past decade.

UnitingCare Australia’s Claerwen Little says low wages growth has put a cap on improved
living standards for millions of Australian wage earners, at a time when national prosperity
has been rising sharply.

Of the country’s 30 electorates with the highest financial losses from stagnant wage growth, half are held by the coalition and 13 by Labor.

The remaining two are held by independents.

Labor holds two-thirds of the 30 seats with the largest proportion of women aged between 20-44, making superannuation for parental leave a key issue for the party according to the analysis.  

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