Media Releases

Decade of Coalition Government costs workers $10,000

May 05, 2022

Decade of Coalition Government costs workers $10,000

With workers facing a cost of living crisis, the Australian Unions have revealed that the average Australian worker would have earned $10,000 more since the Coalition came to power in 2013 if wages had kept up with productivity gains. On today’s wages, that would be another $74 per week.

A new report released today (and attached); ‘Morrison Missing in Action on Wages’, details how real wages are now experiencing their largest decline this century as inflation hits 5.1% while wages are growing at just 2.3 per cent. As a result the average Australian worker suffered a $800 real pay cut in 2021 and is set to lose almost another $2,000 in the first half of 2022.

However since 2013, productivity has grown by 10.3 per cent - 6 times faster than real wages which only grew by 1.6 per cent over the whole period in the private sector.  If real wages had kept pace with productivity since 2013, the average worker would be $10,000 better off. 

As the report argues, low wages are a self-proclaimed “deliberate design feature” of the Coalition Government who have consistently entrenched low wage growth by:

  • Promoting insecure work and the rise of underemployment.
  • Refusing to support real wage rises for 1 in 4 workers in the Annual Wage Review
  • Capping Commonwealth public sector pay rises
  • Failing to act on the gender pay gap and refusing to help the underpaid and overworked predominately women workforces in aged care
  • Trying to remove the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) in collective bargaining while allowing employers to tear up enterprise bargaining agreements by using loopholes in the law
  • Failing to act on wage theft
  • Creating the smallest share of national income going to workers on record

Quotes attributed to SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley:


“At every point that the Federal Government could have delivered a pay rise for workers, they’ve been missing in action”


“We’re in a cost-of-living crisis. Scott Morrison can take immediate action to lift wages. He can support an immediate and meaningful increase to award minimum wage rates, which would precipitate wage action throughout the market. And that’s exactly what we’re calling on him to do.”


“People are struggling more than Morrison acknowledges. We have skyrocketing rates of underemployment and insecure work. We’re experiencing the highest ever rate of workers requiring more than one job to make ends meet. And that situation is worst in SA”


“The average worker has lost $10,000 since this Government came to power because wages aren’t keeping up with productivity. On today’s wages, that would mean an extra $74 in workers pockets each week. This money would have been critical for both our pandemic recovery and curbing the cost-of-living crisis facing working people.”