Gympie MP Tony Perrett.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett. Renee Albrecht

MP warns of rates rises and job losses in Gympie

FURTHER pressure on rates increases and Gympie region job losses are likely after the State Government passed changes to industrial relations laws this week, Gympie MP Tony Perrett claimed yesterday.

Speaking on the Bill in Parliament, Mr Perrett said the reforms in the Industrial Relations Bill meant potential job losses, with Gympie Regional Council having to either increase rates or redirect funds and staff to manage complex payroll changes.

"It is either this or cutting frontline services,” he said.

"The legislation puts a nail in the coffin of the single modern local government award.

"Council staff will be employed under multiple awards with numerous unequal and different variations and conditions. It is just crazy and wastes scare ratepayer's dollars to have staff managing an unnecessary and complex payroll system rather than delivering services to the community.

"Some of us have not forgotten the fiasco of the complex Health payroll system.

"Labor costs represent about 50 percent of total local government expenditures and costs Queensland councils about $4 to $5 billion a year.

"The Local Government Association of Queensland has estimated that this change will cost the 77 local councils across the state an extra $100 million.

"That money has to be found somewhere.

"The proposed changes will lead to further job losses, stifle job creation activities, impede productivity in Council and increase the risk of additional costs to the community.

"That can only mean pressure on our rates or a reduction in services.

Among the other reforms was to gazette Easter Sunday a public holiday.

"It will mean a 43% increase in the hourly wage rate for hospitality businesses and 25% for retailers.

"Our local tourist industry relies heavily on holiday makers during Easter and this will place extra pressure on local small businesses and their wages bill.

"I have been told that for many local hospitality places it will be the difference between whether they can open on Easter Sunday or not.

"In other words hospitality workers who rely on Easter Sunday shifts are the ones who will miss out,” he said.

Gympie Times

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