Australia hikes minimum wage as inflation soars

(FILES) People shop at a market in a suburb of western Sydney on April 27, 2022. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

SYDNEY , Australia (AFP) — Australia raised the minimum wage by over five percent on Thursday, a slower-than-inflation increase as prices for basic goods soar.

The Fair Work Commission set the new minimum rate at Aus$21.38 (US$14.75) an hour, a 5.2 percent increase.

Inflation is forecast to hit seven percent by the end of the year, according to central bank governor Philip Lowe.

Food, fuel and other costs have been pushed higher by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain problems from Covid lockdowns in China and floods on Australia’s east coast.

At the same time wage growth has been stalled in Australia for years, despite ultra-low unemployment of 3.9 percent and many businesses struggling to find staff.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has tried to cool soaring price rises by repeatedly raising lending costs — with more interest rate rises expected in the months to come.

© Agence France-Presse