By Lincoln Humphries, Imogen Knowles

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is pushing to increase the minimum wage by 74¢ an hour.

Australians earning the minimum wage are currently taking home $569.90 a week, but with the proposed increase, this will raise their weekly income by $28, making the take home income $597.90 per week.

The Australia Council of Trade Unions estimates more than 1.3 million Australian’s survive on the minimum wage.

Queensland Council of Social Services president Karyn Walsh says a wage rise is vital.

“It would certainly go a small way in addressing the increases in the cost of living which as we all know and hear daily, is having a significant impact in the quality of life,” said Ms Walsh.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics has recorded figures indicating the average Australian earns more than $1000 weekly.

“When you look at averages we have to acknowledge that the gap between low income and no income is getting wider,” said Ms Walsh.

Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson says Australian businesses will not be able to cope if the minimum wage is increased.

“The business community and these employers in particular are very concerned that a decision could lead to large increases which could not be afforded,”  Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson says he is particularly concerned for the effects on small businesses.