Australian Fair Pay Commission

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The Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) was established in 2005 to replace the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC). While the AIRC decided the Australian minimum wage by a process of arbitration of employer and union claims, the Fair Pay Commission's Chairman, Ian Harper, together with four other commissioners, will set minimum wage levels based on promoting "economic prosperity", rather than on any idea of a fair wage for the lowest paid workers.


The legislation establishing the AFPC gives it the following objectives (Section 7J, p.29):

"The objective of the AFPC in performing its wage-setting function is to promote the economic prosperity of the people of Australia having regard to the following: (a) the capacity for the unemployed and low paid to obtain and remain in employment; (b) employment and competitiveness across the economy; (c) providing a safety net for the low paid; (d) providing minimum wages for junior employees, employees to whom training arrangements apply and employees with disabilities that ensure those employees are competitive in the labour market."

This removes any requirement for the minimum wage to be "fair" - a rule which bound the previous Industrial Relations Commission. [1]


The five Fair Pay Commissioners are [2]:


The Australian Labor Party has dubbed the Fair Pay Commission the "low pay commission". [3]

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