Why are the Australian housewives so frugal?
The average Australian household spends around $500 per week on food and groceries, a figure that has seen them cut back on their spending over the last two years.
However, the trend of increasing food spending could soon be about to reverse with the Federal Government proposing to lift the minimum wage.
According to new data, Australians have increased their spending on food since 2010, and are set to hit the $500 mark by 2020.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Household Expenditure Survey (HEIS) revealed household expenditure in the three months to July was $1,566,700, a 1.5 per cent increase from the same period last year.
This is a significant jump from the $1.1 million mark in 2014, which is an increase of 4.5 percentage points.
While the increase is likely to come as a surprise to many households, it has prompted a debate in the Federal Parliament over whether to lift Australia’s minimum wage, and potentially put downward pressure on wages.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who has previously questioned the cost of living in Australia, is currently pushing to lift this wage to $10.50 an hour, a move which is predicted to put upward pressure on the minimum wages of many Australians.
Labor MP Andrew Leigh has previously criticised Labor’s plan to increase the minimum to $11 an hour.
“We’re not going to go higher than the $10 an hour minimum wage,” he said.
However, the Federal Opposition has backed the plan, which would see the minimum rise to $13 an hour by 2020, a hike of nearly 3.5 points.
“We need to raise the minimum hourly wage to get the best possible jobs for workers and the best opportunity for our economy,” said Opposition Employment Minister Kelly O’Dwyer.
It is believed Labor will support the plan to lift wages, and Senator Leigh has promised to reintroduce a bill to do so.
As well as the increase in minimum wage to a new level, Senator Leigh wants to see an increase in the amount Australians pay for their housing and travel costs.
In an interview with the ABC, Senator Labor said a new minimum wage would help pay for the cost savings that would come from lifting the minimum, and it would also help increase household spending.
Senator Leigh said the Government should consider lifting the wage to around $13, which was the level of the lowest paid in the OECD.
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