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The RBA is warning that wage growth won’t be “materially higher” for at least three years.

The central bank’s governor, Philip Lowe, said in a monetary policy statement yesterday that the bank’s board won’t increase interest rates “until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range”.

“For this to occur, wages growth will have to be materially higher than is currently.

“This will require significant gains in employment and a return to a tight labour market.”

But this will not come about “until 2024 at the earliest”, Lowe said.

He added in a speech to the National Press Club today that “it is possible that it will be later than this”.

Lowe told his audience in Canberra today that under the bank’s “central scenario”, wage growth will “pick up from its current low rate, but [will] do so only very gradually and still be below 2% at the end of next year”.

It will “still be very, very low”, he continued.

In response to a question from press club president Laura Tingle about whether, with wage growth at an all-time low, it is time for the RBA to advise the Federal Government to “do more about wages growth and the balance of power in the labour market”, Lowe declined to “provide the government with advice on that vexed issue”.

He said he remains confident “that laws of supply and demand in the labour market still work” and said “we have to be patient” for unemployment to drop and “firms have to pay higher wages”.