Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt. Mike Knott BUN201217PITT1

Hinkler MP: 'Wage increase will mean job losses'

LABOR'S proposal to scrap the minimum wage in favour of a "living wage" has been slammed by Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who claims it will lead to job losses.

But Richard Pascoe, Labor's Hinkler candidate, says the proposal needs to come into place due to wages stagnating and refusing to budge.

It follows Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promising to deliver a "living wage" should Labor form government at the next election.

The proposal would involve changes to the Fair Work Act to push up the minimum wage above its current rate of $18.93 an hour.

While Australian Council of Trade Unions boss Sally McManus has welcomed the proposal, Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said the plans could drive up unemployment.

Speaking to the Chronicle on Friday, Mr Pitt said the wage increase outlined by the unions would lead to job losses.

"The Labor party should say how this will be achieved... such a massive wage increase will mean job losses," Mr Pitt said.

"We are doing the exact opposite, we are changing the tax rates, we are providing more money in people's pockets right now without the huge effect it will have on businesses."

But Mr Pascoe accused Mr Pitt of being "out of touch with his electorate" and said company profits were soaring while wages remained stagnant.

"If the current Member for Hinkler was truly out in the electorate talking to people, he would know that the lack of wage growth is hurting families," Mr Pascoe said.

"With a minimum wage of just $18.93 per hour and with the ongoing exploitation of workers through wage theft, it is time that government ensured that workers were treated fairly and were given a fair pay for their work."