Sunday penalty rate cuts to create Rocky region job opportunities: Landry
UPDATE: THE decision to amend the award for many Sunday workers will create jobs with more employers in Rockhampton and Yeppoon set to open on the day, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says.
Ms Landry has hit back at Labor Senator Murray Watt who earlier called for her to cross the floor and back a Labor Private Member's Bill to prevent a penalty rates cut from taking effect.
Mr Watt said figures obtained from the Federal Parliamentary Library showed up to 11,508 Capricornia workers in the retail, food and hospitality industries faced a potential pay cut of up to $77 per week, if the penalty rates decision stood.
But Ms Landry said the Fair Work Commission's decision was about getting the balance right.
"The Fair Work Commission's decision is the result of a process that was instigated by Bill Shorten when he was Minister for Workplace Relations under the previous Labor government,” Ms Landry said in a statement.
"In 2013, Bill Shorten amended the Fair Work Act to specifically require the Fair Work Commission to review penalty rates as part of its award review process.
"I fully support workers getting paid more on weekends and public holidays, but you have to get the balance right. As an independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission took more than 5000 submissions from both unions and employer representatives before making its decision.
"Everyone knows there is a trade-off between the level of penalty rates, and the availability of jobs on weekends.
"I've spoken to many employers across Rockhampton and Yeppoon who are unable to open on a Sunday. Now, they can. This decision creates more opportunities for jobs in our region.
"If Murray Watt chose to live in regional Queensland - instead of lecturing regional Queensland - he would know that the most important issue facing Central Queensland is local jobs.”
EARLIER: NEW figures reveal more than 11,000 Capricornia workers will be hard hit by last week's shock decision to cut penalty rates, a Labor senator claims.
Labor senator for Queensland Murray Watt said figures obtained from the Federal Parliamentary Library showed up to 11,508 Capricornia workers in the retail, food and hospitality industries faced a potential pay cut of up to $77 per week, if the penalty rates decision stood.
Senator Watt said under the Turnbull Government, wages in Australia were growing less than ever before.
"This latest pay cut is even more bad news for Capricornia workers and their families,” Senator Watt said.
"It is also bad for the Central Queensland economy, as these workers will now have less money to spend in local shops, restaurants and other businesses.
"Labor is determined to stop this damage being inflicted on our local workers and economy.”
He said the ALP would today introduce a Private Member's Bill to prevent the penalty rates cut from taking effect and to ensure that in the future, penalty rates couldn't be cut if it results in a reduction in workers' take-home pay.
He said with the Government holding a one seat majority, if Capricornia MP Michelle Landry crossed the floor to vote with Labor and the crossbenchers, they could stop penalty rates being cut.
"Ms Landry must tell us if she will stand up for Capricornia, or stand by as our local workers and economy suffer,” Senator Watt said.
A response has been sought from Ms Landry's office.