Sub-Minimum wage

Council Meeting

25 June 2024


Item No:              C0624(2) Item 34

Subject:              Question on Notice: Subminimum wages           

From:                  Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz  


“It's legal for disabled people to be paid as little as $2.90/hr, even though the minimum wage is $23.23/hr. "

The Guardian had an article about the issue in January 2024


200 national and state organisations, over MPs & Councillors and over 2000 individuals have signed an Abolish Subminimum Wage - Open Letter. 

"Abolish Subminimum Wage - Open Letter

Read this letter in Plain English Sign this letter

We oppose the practice of paying disabled workers subminimum wage. It is unacceptable that in 2024 disabled people living in Australia can be paid as little as $2.90 per hour, while the minimum wage for others is $23.23 per hour.

These practices don’t help disabled people find work. We know from the Disability Royal Commission that Australia has one of the lowest disability employment rates in the OECD. As disabled people and allies, we support transition to fairer, equitable work through more modern and just practices to support disabled people in the workplace, such as supported employment and customised employment.

We acknowledge the international workers’ movement — led by disabled people — to end these archaic practices, which originated in the 1930s, and seek equitable pay. This movement has seen sweeping legislative success across the past decade.

Disabled people demand equal pay for our work. It is time for Australia to abolish subminimum wages.

In solidarity,"

Available at


Do we have any positions, which are offered in the 'supported wage system'?


Inner West Council do not have any positions under a supported wage system. All employees are covered under the Local Government (State) Award.


Do we employ any staff under 'the supported wage system'?




There are at least two Australian Disability Enterprises(ADE) operating in LGA. Are we providing any subsidies (eg rent or peppercorn leases, complementary or discounted room hires in Council venues, rate exemption or discounted rates, and favourable consideration in tender and procurement processes) to any ADEs?


As of last Council meeting in the newly adopted Procurement Strategy, we have a compulsory 15% weighting on the ESG components, this will benefit the ADEs.


NSW State Policy

"You can buy from an Australian disability enterprise (ADE) with a single quote and no contract value limits." (viewed11 July 2024)

" M2010-06 Exemption from Procurement Policy for Disability Organisations

Description: This memorandum should be read in conjunction with TC 04/07 Procurement Policy Reform, TPP 04-1 NSW Government Procurement Policy, NSW Government Code of Practice for Procurement and M2006-11 NSW Procurement Reforms."