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6345.0 - Labour Price Index, Australia, Mar 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/05/2008   
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COMMENTARY


SECTOR

The Private sector seasonally adjusted through the year movement (4.1%) is higher than that of the Public sector (3.9%) for the second consecutive quarter. December quarter 2007 marked the end of a five year period in which Public sector increases were consistently higher than in the Private sector.


STATE

In original terms, all States recorded a quarterly change of between 0.8% and 1.0%. Western Australia recorded the largest change through the year (5.9%) followed by South Australia (4.6%). The lowest rates of change through the year were reported by Tasmania and the Northern Territory (both 3.6%).


INDUSTRY

In original terms, Mining recorded the largest through the year and quarterly change of any industry (5.8% and 1.7% respectively). Accommodation, cafes and restaurants recorded the smallest change through the year (2.4%) and the lowest quarterly change with Communication services (both 0.3%).


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES

The Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) has had responsibility for setting National Minimum Wages since early 2006. The first AFPC decision had a date of effect of 1 December 2006 which flowed through to the wage price index of March quarter 2007. The second AFPC decision, with a date of effect of 1 October 2007, mostly impacted the December quarter 2007 wage price index.

Under the amendments made to the Workplace Relations Act in March 2008, the AFPC retains responsibility for setting National Minimum Wages until 2010. The AFPC has stated it will make its next announcement on National Minimum Wages in July 2008 and the new rates will have a date of effect in October 2008.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED WAGE ESTIMATES

Ongoing industrial relations changes, including the date of effect of the AFPC decisions and changes in the timing of wage increases have affected the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the wage price index. In calculating the seasonally adjusted estimates, the ABS applied both a trend and a seasonal break to the September quarter 2006. Trend estimates continue to be unavailable from that time. For further details, see paragraphs 37-45 of the Explanatory Notes.


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