Australia's new centre-left Labor government on Friday proposed raising the minimum wage to ease the financial burden on families hit by soaring energy prices and a spike in consumer price inflation.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who was sworn in last week, said he had submitted an application with the independent wage-setting body that could help raise the pay of the lowest-paid workers from A$20.33 ($14.77) an hour.
"Workers on the minimum wage deserve a pay rise," Albanese said on Twitter although he did not specify a proposed increase.
During the election campaign, Albanese promised he would support a 5.1% rise in wages.
"Rising costs are putting real pressure on family budgets. And these costs are harder to meet because of a decade of deliberate decisions by the previous government to keep wages low," he said.
The Fair Work Commission will decide on the minimum wage in the next few weeks, a ruling affecting more than 2 million workers. The government can make a recommendation on the size of the award.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said this week Labor would honour its campaign pledge to argue for a wage rise matching inflation, which has risen twice as fast as wages.
The government is tackling a spike in domestic wholesale prices of electricity and gas as demand for energy rises with colder weather.
Data on Wednesday showed gross domestic product rose 0.8% in the March quarter, topping market forecasts and setting the scene for more inflation-fighting interest rates increases by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).
Economists polled by Reuters said in a survey published on Friday that the RBA would raise rates by 25 basis points at its June policy meeting next week, with some predicting a 40 basis point rise to 0.75%.
Markets are also priced in for an increase.
($1 = 1.3761 Australian dollars)