Call for penalty rate changes
Durack MHR Melissa Price has called for an end to the multi-tiered penalty rate system in an effort to boost small business in regional WA.
In a letter to the Fair Work Commission in December Ms Price said a two-tiered system, comprising normal working hour rates and a separate rate for non-standard hours, should be considered.
Ms Price said the current system stifled Durack business owners’ ability to operate on Sundays and public holidays, leading to many of them simply not opening their doors. United Voice was quick to criticise the submission, claiming it was an “open attack” on local workers.
United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith said workers in the Durack electorate would stand to lose up to $35.7 million a year from their household budgets.
Ms Smith said many people in Durack relied on weekend penalty rates to make ends meet.
Onslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Geoff Herbert said removing Sunday penalty rates would be a positive step but believes it might not make too much of a difference in the Pilbara.
“It would potentially make it a lot easier for a lot of businesses to get staffed and make it viable to stay open on Sundays, especially in small towns like Onslow where you don’t have a huge turnover of customers,” he said.
“Overall, I don’t think it would have too big an impact on the North West though.
“The supermarkets manage to get staffed as it is and you have the backpackers there seven days a week.”
Penalty rates have been a hot topic in State and Federal politics over the past year.
WA Premier Colin Barnett and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have signalled their support for changing the penalty rate system.
WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has previously indicated he is against reducing weekend penalty rates.
It would potentially make it a lot easier for a lot of businesses to get staffed.