The prospect of wage increases for Australians ahead of the mid-year economic update has been described as ‘Christmas fairytales’.
Labor is urging Australians to heed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s announcement that wages will rise with a “grain of salt”, warning the government is calling it a “Christmas fairytale”.
In Thursday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Mr. Frydenberg will announce an advanced salary forecast, including an announcement that full-time workers can expect a $2500 annual wage increase over the next four years.
But Labor MP Bill Shorten says he does not share the government’s optimism, telling Sunrise that families could be left behind.
“I think the bounce back from Covid is people are saving money (and) they have money to spend,” he said.
“But, you know, I think Mr. Frydenberg must be telling some Christmas stories about wages.
“For the last eight years, wages are basically in the toilet, they have not increased at all.
“Whenever the government said they were going to go up, they didn’t go as far as the government promised. So I take that with a big grain of salt. When they say wages are going to rise miraculously, they are not under this government.
“I still worry that the cost of living is going to rise faster than wages for ordinary, everyday families.”
If Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls elections ahead of the scheduled March 29 federal budget, MYEFO could be the last change of government to speed up its economic recovery from Covid-19.
The budget update will also reveal that the Treasury expects the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5 percent by the middle of next year and to 4.25 percent in the year after, the lowest level before the global financial crisis.
To do so, Mr Frydenberg is expected to announce a pledge to create one million new jobs – more than the 150,000 announced in the May budget.
Mr Frydenberg said those jobs would be in manufacturing and hospitality, among others.
“We are creating new industries in defence, space, critical minerals which are also creating jobs,” he told Sunrise.
“It reflects the momentum that we have in economic recovery. Business and consumer confidence has risen, with job advertisements at their highest level in 13 years.
“Australia maintains its AAA credit rating and very strong investments coming from businesses large and small – a sign that people have confidence in our economic recovery.”
Mr Frydenberg has told Australians not to discount the Christmas period despite Omicron’s perceived risk.
“Australians can be confident and optimistic about the Christmas period and next year,” he said.
“The vaccination rate, compared to any other country in the world, is a proven defense against the virus, and at the same time our economy is rebounding more strongly than any other country around the world.”