Present tense: Pay rise coming in July

On 3 June, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down its decision in the annual National Wage Case. This is a mandated increase to the minimum wage, and also in award rates, including those in the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award, which covers most staff in private post-secondary colleges.

The FWC has awarded a 3.75% increase this year, less than the 5% boost the ACTU called for, but more than the 2% suggested by employer groups.

The ACTU also pushed for an additional 4% for awards covering traditionally “feminised” industries (such as aged care and early childhood), as a way of addressing gender-based wage inequalities. The FWC did not consider this in this decision, but FWC President Adam Hatcher did note that changes in the Fair Work Act will make such increases possible in future decisions.

The minimum wage will increase from $882.80 to $915.90 per week (full time), and from $23.23 to $24.10 per hour. Award rates were still being calculated at the time of writing, but post-secondary rates at Level 7 will increase to around $69, 664.91 (annual) and $66.73 (casual hourly). Rates will change from 1 July.

More visa changes

The federal government continues to turn the screws on student visas, with measures in the budget placing effective caps on student numbers.

These new changes will pause applications from new providers and new courses from existing providers for up to a year. They will require new providers to demonstrate a track record of quality delivery and prevent providers under investigation from recruiting new students.

These changes have come following a big bounce back for the sector post-pandemic, feeding into eye-wateringly high migration figures over the last two years. This in turn has put political pressure on the government to reign in those numbers, and regrettably the Labor Party has some form in over-reacting to immigration scare campaigns, though to be fair, other countries like Canada and the UK have also made similar moves.

The proposed changes are yet to pass the Parliament, much less play out in the real world. But those in the sector should prepare themselves for lower student numbers for the rest of the decade compared to numbers since the borders reopened in late 2021.

IEU membership

With the end of the boom possibly in sight, now is the time to build up union membership at your college, as the IEU is much better placed to assist in workplaces with high union density – to paraphrase JFK: the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. If every existing member gets one more person to join, then we will have doubled our strength!

The IEU offers discounted rates to casual and fixed-term contract staff, and all union fees are tax deductible. People can join over the phone or online, and there are many broader benefits to IEU membership ( So get with the strength, and join the IEU today!

Kendall Warren