Setting the wage floor: The evolution and future of the Minimum Wage in Australia

HC Coombs Policy Forum
Cleaner mopping

Event details

Public Lecture

Date & time

Wednesday 29 May 2013


Acton Theatre, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Rob Bray PSM, Research Fellow, Research School of Economics, ANU


Olivia Wenholz
6125 7067

The minimum wage in Australia has a long and colourful history.

Whilst now at a similar real value as at the peak it reached some decades ago, the role of the minimum wage has fundamentally changed. It has shifted from a wage set to meet the needs of a family to an individual wage. This transition has been complemented by strong increases in government support for families, especially those with low earnings.

Looking to the future, what should the balance be between wages provided by employers and financial support from government? How does the future of the minimum wage relate to a ‘high participation’ agenda and the productivity potential of low paid workers? At this lecture, Rob Bray will launch his publication Reflections on the evolution of the minimum wage in Australia – options for the future and set out his ideas for advancing public policy on this important debate.

Rob Bray came to the ANU after a long career in the Australian Public Service as a policy analyst and researcher. In 2010 he was awarded the Public Service Medal in recognition of his work on poverty and hardship. His current research at the Research School of Economics includes the measurement of well-being and the role of the welfare system and its inter-relationship with participation.

This lecture is the third in a series hosted by the HC Coombs Policy Forum to debate the workforce participation challenges that Australia faces now and in the future. The previous topics were:

[*Welfare reforms and the new world of older workers*](, by Professor Bob Gregory, Emeritus Professor, ANU
[*Welfare reform under austerity: What might Australia learn from the UK’s Universal Credit and Work Program*]( by Professor Dan Finn, University of Portsmouth

Materials related to this public lecture and paper launch are available on hyperlinks below, and on the ‘Downloads’ and ‘Video’ tabs for this event. Please let us know what you think by going to the ‘Feedback’ tab for this event.

“What future for the minimum wage” Crawford School news, opinion piece

“We need to talk about the minimum wage” Canberra Times, opinion piece

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