Support small business to create WA jobs and boost wages

Western Australia’s unemployment rate remains the second highest in the country at 6.1 per cent in trend terms and a full per cent higher than the national rate of 5.1 per cent.

It’s great to see that a record number of 1,343,800 West Australians are now in work. Despite recording the highest trend employment, there remains a consistently high number of West Australians who are not able to find work.

In trend terms, more than 131,000 West Australians are underemployed and want more work – up 1.4 per cent since March – and over 87,000 West Australians are unemployed. Youth unemployment has thankfully continued to decline slightly, down 0.1 per cent in April to 13.6 per cent.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) has consistently made the case that to create jobs in WA, business investment must be supported by governments at every level.

Businesses are doing it tough in WA, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. With four out of five WA jobs created by business, there is no mistaking how critical their success is, not just to WA’s economy but to protecting West Australians livelihoods.

There has been much talk this Federal Election about real wages growth. Yesterday, figures released by the ABS showed that WA recorded the lowest quarterly rise in wages of 0.3 per cent and the direct link between high unemployment and low wages growth couldn’t be clearer.

If we want to see real wages growth in WA then we need to get more people into work by supporting small businesses, not impose ill-conceived policies such as a living wage on businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat, as proposed by the ACTU, Unions WA and Federal Labor.

Unions WA’s 2019 State Wage Case proposal and the ACTU’s national Annual Wage Review proposal to increase the minimum wage by 6 per cent and move towards a living wage will stunt WA jobs growth, leaving some with a pay rise but others without a job at all.

The last thing WA needs right now is big wage rises for some that result in job losses for others.

We need to support small business to create as many new jobs as possible, which includes a reasonable and real increase in the minimum wage as proposed by CCIWA in the State Wage Case.

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