In this month’s WA monthly news wrap-up: The Fair Work Commission announces a rise in pay for minimum wage workers; Tesla officials discuss Perth’s “Lithium valley” options with Premier; and legislation to allow the Yanchep rail extension is introduced to the State Parliament.
3.5% pay rise for lowest-paid workers
More than 2 million Australian workers will receive a $24.30 rise to their weekly wage following the decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to adjust the minimum wage by 3.5%. The pay increase, which will take effect on July 1, will see the minimum wage rise to $719.20 per week or $18.93 per hour.
While the pay increase fell short of the Unions’ proposed $50 per-week rise, the unions did laud the move as a step in the right direction.
Employers, on the other hand, expressed dissatisfaction with the wage adjustment and warned that the increased burden could result in fewer work hours and job opportunities. Business and industry groups had proposed a $13 rise in weekly wages arguing that businesses were faced with inflation and other pressures.
Although the minimum wage has been on the up for the past five years, Justice Iain Ross, FWC president, did note that the rise had not done much in improving the living standards for the majority of households.
Tesla meets premier over “Lithium Valley” options
Officials from Tesla, an American multinational that makes electric cars and lithium batteries, met with Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan and several ministers to discuss matters lithium.
The US firm requires 35 raw materials to produce its batteries, all of which can be sourced from Western Australia. The availability of the resources needed for Tesla’s operations has made WA of particular interest to the company which is in search of business opportunities in Perth’s ‘Lithium Valley’.
News of the meeting follows reports of a deal between WA Lithium and Tesla for the supply of lithium hydroxide produced from a refinery that’s slated to be built in Kwinana. Specific details about the meeting, however, are yet to be revealed.
Metronet legislation for Yanchep rail extension
Legislation that will enable the extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep has been introduced to the State Parliament. Named “The Railway (Metronet) Bill 2018”, the legislation will authorise construction of rail infrastructure for the project as well as the Thornie-Cockburn link allowing construction to commence as soon as it’s enacted.
As part of the Yanchep Rail Extension project, the Joondalup Line from north of Butler station will be extended and three stations constructed along the way at Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep.
According to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, commencement of the legislation process is a major milestone for the project which aims to improve Perth’s public transport network. In addition to creating hundreds of jobs during construction, the project is expected to facilitate planned urban growth around the train stations, increase public transport patronage, shorter journey times and to make jobs more accessible.
The State Government plans to commence construction next year once it finalises the Project Definition Plans.