Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam says the Fair Work Commission's move to increase the minimum wage by $15.80 a week barely matches inflation and will leave WA workers struggling with record high rents.
"The minimum weekly wage is barely over $600, and the median weekly rent in Perth is $520. The weight of those numbers is crushing people.
"Anglicare's extensive research found that 99 per cent of rental properties in Western Australia are too expensive for full time workers on the minimum wage. Today's announced minimum wage increase amounts to an extra 39 cents an hour - it's not good enough.
"The Australian Council of Trade Unions pushed for a more suitable $30 a week increase, which wouldn't have hurt business but would have made a big difference for people who have to choose between eating properly and renting the roof over their head.
"The minimum wage is not keeping up with the rising cost of living, particularly housing. This locks-in long-term disadvantage: People will struggle to give their kids a decent education, people will struggle to get the training they need for a better-paying job. Unless this changes we will have an underclass of working poor in this country.
"Three quarters of a million workers in Australia are on the minimum wage - they deserve better."