Call for penalty rate changes

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Ge­off Her­bert

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