NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has voiced her concern about the impact the loss of penalty rates will have on living standards in the Illawarra and has called on Liberal MPs in the Illawarra to publicly oppose the push to remove penalty rates and change the minimum wage.
“Gutting Sunday rates for workers in regional areas like Illawarra would have a devastating impact on local economies and exacerbate inequality,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“If Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and state Liberal MPs are committed to the people of the Illawarra and to strengthening the local economy they will oppose weakening penalty rates.
“The Illawarra retail and service sectors employ huge numbers of part time workers who would be hard hit if they lost their weekend loadings.
“Many local workers rely on penalty rates to provide a decent take home wage.
“With youth unemployment in the Illawarra well above the national and state averages we should be looking to expand secure work not making jobs more exploitative.
“Last year a report found that 18.4 per cent 15 to 24 year olds living in the Illawarra region were unemployed – 5.8% above the national average.
“Penalty rates are an essential work right that compensate people for working unsociable hours when most people have time off.
“81% of people believe that those who work outside of normal hours are entitled to penalty rates.
“The Greens are working with unions and community groups to oppose any attacks on penalty rates,” Senator Rhiannon said.