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Minimum Wage Was Under $1/Hour In 1966, Here’s How Far We’ve Come Since

Published June 11, 2019 (last updated on February 28, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


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The new minimum wage has just been announced to be an hourly rate of $19.84 per hour.

As the times have changed, so too has the minimum wage. Ten years ago, it was $14.31 per hour — and in 1966, it was under a single dollar an hour! It’s almost inconceivable to our modern sensibilities that such a low figure was deemed a liveable income.      

Here’s how far we’ve come in the fifty plus years since Australia’s $1/hour minimum wage.

1966 – $36.37 per week (averaged across states and territory)

Vietnam War protests, “The Batman” television series starring Adam West makes its debut.

1969 – $42.65 per week (averaged across states and territory)

Neil Armstrong becomes the first man on the moon, The Beatles release “Abbey Road”.

1972 – $51.35 per week (averaged across states and territory)

Gough Whitlam becomes the 21st Prime Minister, Watergate Scandal.

1976 – $100.70 per week

Medibank Private is established, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form Apple Computers.

1985 – $167.50 per week

Live Aid, Michael Jordan is named NBA Rookie of the Year.

1989 – $214.29 per week

Tiananmen Square, Toyota company launches Lexus brand.

1995 – $284.45 per week

Qantas becomes a private company, Microsoft releases Windows 95.

1999 – $385.40 per week

The UK surrenders the sovereignty of Hong Kong, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace is released in cinemas.

2005 – $484.40 per week

World population reaches 6.5 billion, YouTube is founded. 

2009 – $543.78 per week

Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States, Fair Work Ombudsman is established.

2012 – $606.40 per week

London hosts the Summer Olympics, “Curiosity” Mars rover successfully lands.

 2018 – $719.20 per week

Scott Morrison successfully challenges Malcolm Turnbull to become the 30th Prime Minister, France wins the FIFA World Cup.

If you need help understanding the Minimum Wage changes or how that impacts your business, reach out to Employsure or give us a call at 1300 651 415.

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