MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                                                       April 2, 2024

Minimum wage rise essential to keeping Australians out of poverty The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has argued for a 4.9 per cent rise in the national minimum wage.

The Conference has lodged a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review through the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations.

Such a move would provide for an increase in the national minimum wage of $43.30 a week, bringing it from $882.80 to $926.10 a week.

Speaking on behalf of the Conference, Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Michael Kennedy said workers have a right to wages that will provide themselves and their families with a dignified standard of living.

“A rise of 4.9 per cent would not only help improve the standard of living of the lowest-paid working Australians but lift the level of welfare payments and award rates of pay – providing a broader benefit to Australian families,” he said.

“A boost in the minimum wage will help address the cost-of-living crisis.”

The Catholic Church is one of the largest private sector employers in Australia – employing more than 220,000 people across Australia in health, aged care, education, welfare and administration.

The Church has been a long-standing advocate for workers’ rights, providing submissions on the minimum wage for decades.

The submission argues a rise in the minimum wage would not add to inflationary pressures or job losses, as Australia still has persistently low unemployment, ongoing job creation and strong business profitability.

It also argues the commission should consider embedding the goal of eliminating the poverty gap into its overall approach to the national minimum wage.

The full submission can be found here: Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations - AWR 2023-24 inital submissions (


  Media Contact: Paul Osborne, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 0407 519 473