Entsch stands by cuts

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Scott Tib­balls

WAR­REN Entsch is stand­ing by his sup­port for the cuts to penalty pay rates, say­ing it is the right thing to do even if it costs him his seat in fed­eral par­lia­ment.

“I have been ar­gu­ing that penalty rates have been a dis­in­cen­tive for em­ploy­ment for some years,” Mr Entsch said.

In tourism-heavy ar­eas like Port Dou­glas, small busi­ness op­er­a­tors needed to be able to op­er­ate seven days a week.

“Given we are a tourist des­ti­na­tion, peo­ple come from all over the world and there’s an ex­pec­ta­tion that when they go out they’d like to be able to have a meal or a cof­fee or have an ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Can you imag­ine how func­tional Port Dou­glas would be if we shut ev­ery­body down on Satur­day after­noon at mid­day as it used to be, and no­body opens un­til Mon­day morn­ing – how long would we sur­vive in Port Dou­glas as a des­ti­na­tion?”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Entsch, neg­a­tive polling on the changes was be­cause of mis­in­for­ma­tion, and wouldn’t sway him any­way.

“Some­times a de­ci­sion may not be pop­u­lar, but you can clearly ar­gue they are in the na­tional in­ter­est, and we need to fac­tor that in, and if it’s go­ing to have a po­lit­i­cal con­se­quence then so be it.”

Mr Entsch, who holds the di­vi­sion of Le­ich­hardt by a

mar­ginal 3.95 per cent, could be at risk of los­ing his seat if the is­sue con­tin­ued to at­tract neg­a­tive at­ten­tion, but said stand­ing by his ideals was more im­por­tant.

“It’s not a mat­ter of not be­ing con­cerned about it (los­ing Le­ich­hardt) it’s about time – it’s im­por­tant that you stand up for what you be­lieve in.

“I have been ar­gu­ing for this for a long time.

“I’ve been ar­gu­ing that we’ve got to have strong small busi­nesses. I’ve been ar­gu­ing that I don’t be­lieve an 18 year old with no ex­pe­ri­ence is worth $60 an hour serv­ing cof­fees.”

“Its part of the rea­son we have 24-25 per cent un­em­ploy­ment rate – be­cause we can’t af­ford to em­ploy them.

“If you’re sell­ing a ham­burger and a cup of cof­fee, you need to be ex­traor­di­nar­ily busy on a Sun­day to cover the $60 an hour for your 18-year-old in­ex­pe­ri­enced worker.”

He said it was frus­trat­ing that the con­ver­sa­tion was where it was.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has been un­der grow­ing at­tack from the Op­po­si­tion over the Fair Pay Com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion to lower some penalty pay rates.

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