Anthony Albanese has given emphatic support for a rise in the minimum wage to keep up with increasing inflation levels.
The opposition leader said it was "untenable" for people to face stagnant wages as the cost of living increases.
"The idea that people who are doing it really tough at the moment should have a further cut in their cost of living is, in my view, simply untenable," he told the ABC's 7.30 program on Tuesday.
Mr Albanese is promising to hold a full employment summit if elected to find ways to get wages moving, as well as boost women's workforce participation.
"I believe very firmly that people who are on the minimum wage, which is just $20.33, shouldn't fall further behind," he said.
Mr Albanese's comments come after a submission from the Australian Council of Trade Unions to the Fair Work Commission backing a rise in the minimum wage of 5.5 per cent.
A Labor government will make a fresh submission to the Fair Work Commission minimum wage case advocating for a rise.
Mr Albanese said the rise should "absolutely" be in line with inflation, which is sitting at 5.1 per cent, the highest level in two decades.
"You should be able to pay your rent, to buy food, to get by, and the Fair Work Commission should bear that in mind in the decision that they make," he earlier told reporters in Melbourne.
"Labor has a plan to lift wages and that is what we will do."
The ACTU wants an increase in the minimum wage from $20.33 to $21.45 an hour, or $42,384.84 a year.
Mr Albanese said it was important wages did not go backwards.
"We have a government that have low wage growth as a key feature of their economic architecture. They've said that."
Labor campaign spokesman Jason Clare said productivity investments would be a key way to have wages growth but also hold off inflation.
"What we want to do is make sure that the economy's capacity to grow is not held back by inflation out of control," he said.
"You've got to tackle action here to help to make sure that people's wages keep up with the cost of living. There's a whole bunch of ways that we can do that."
Speaking at a multicultural community lunch in the Sydney seat of Bennelong, Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashed the Labor leader over his promises to accelerate wages growth, saying he was "making things up on the run".
"(He says things) ... without talking to people, without actually thinking through the consequences of the things that he's talking about," Mr Morrison said.
"Just running off at the mouth on important issues like our national economy and national security."
Mr Albanese was flanked by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in several key Melbourne seats as the pair made an announcement about an infrastructure project for the state.
The premier said Victoria had been ripped off by the Liberal-National federal government.
"Every federal dollar that Victorians get from the miserable Morrison government (we are made to feel like) ... we ought to bow our head and treat it like it's foreign aid," he said.
Later at a coffee shop in the Deakin electorate - held by Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar on a 6.4 per cent margin - Labor candidate Matt Gregg told Mr Albanese the cost of child care was one of the key issues people were raising with him.
"Sometimes all of a parent's wages go towards child care and that structure ... cuts back on productivity and workforce participation," Mr Albanese said.
A local voter told AAP while there were many Liberal supporters in the Deakin electorate she was sensing a community change in allegiance.
While she hadn't yet made a final decision about who to vote for, interior designer and business owner Kerry Buchanan said Labor's policies appeared to be more compatible with her beliefs.
Australian Associated Press
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