Entsch stands by cuts
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.