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New government to outline wages stance

The federal government will hand down its submission to the Fair Work Commission on Friday on a rise to the minimum wage.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote to the commission’s president last week seeking permission for a new government submission to the body, following Labor’s election victory last month.

The government was given a Friday deadline to submit its response.

“The new submission will outline my government’s position on a fair increase to minimum and award wages for Australia’s lowest-paid workers, noting the rising cost of living,” Mr Albanese said in his letter to the commission.

The prime minister had made the cost of living a key issue during the election campaign, publicly advocating for a rise to the minimum wage, which currently sits at $20.33 an hour.

When asked on the campaign trail whether he would support an increase to the minimum wage of 5.1 per cent in order to keep up with inflation, Mr Albanese said “absolutely”.

However, the government has since indicated it would not include a figure in its submission to the Fair Work Commission on how much wages should rise.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles previously said the Albanese government would argue those on the minimum wage should not receive a wage cut.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton had accused the government of backtracking on its promise on supporting a 5.1 per cent increase in the minimum wage, following the decision not to include a figure in its new submission.

Other bodies will have until Wednesday to lodge a submission in reply to the government’s position once it is submitted.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions had called for a 5.5 per cent rise to the minimum wage in its submission to the Fair Work Commission.

The commission is expected to hand down its final decision before the end of the month.

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