Labor candidate for Wide Bay Lucy Stanton.
Labor candidate for Wide Bay Lucy Stanton. Contributed.

LETTER: Penalty rates

THE newly minted Turnbull/Truss government has cutting penalty rates well and truly in their sights.

Mr Turnbull believes penalty rates are only still in place because of history, proving how out of touch he really is with everyday Australians.

The economic impact of cutting or reducing penalty rates in Australia's retail and hospitality industries will have a devastating effect on those who rely on that extra money to provide for themselves and their families.

For these workers this extra money is not money spent on luxuries it is spent on necessities.

It won't mean more employment because workers will simply have to work more hours to maintain the same level of income.

And for many that means more money spent on childcare and even less time with family and friends.

The average retail worker employed in a regional area earned just $32,200pa and a hospitality worker just $28,700 so they are already struggling to make ends meet.

Any further reduction in their salaries could have disastrous consequences even if those reductions are modest.

And, depending on whether penalty rates are partially reduced or fully removed it would reduce the disposable income in regional areas by between $174.6million and $748.3million.

The McKell Institute's independent quantitative analysis found, "that any reduction in penalty rates is likely to result in a substantial decline in regional and rural economies, as wages and income shift towards the major cities" because most retail stores are not locally owned any money saved by business will leave the area.

Given the major consequences the Labor government does not support reducing penalty rates.

The Mckell Institute "strongly urges all policy makers to protect all of the existing penalty rates system that has built Australia's successful businesses and regional communities".

Lucy Stanton,

Labor Candidate Wide Bay

Gympie Times


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