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    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Christensen and Prime Minister should just back Labor’s bill to protect penalty rates

    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    Christensen and Prime Minister should just back Labor’s bill to protect penalty rates

    Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has called on the Prime Minister to protect penalty rates and support Federal Labor’s bill.

    This follows George Christensen’s indication that he will introduce a private members bill into the federal parliament to stop the recent Fair Work Commission decision on penalty rates from taking effect.

    “Labor’s Bill, currently before the federal parliament, will protect workers from these savage pay cuts.

    “There’s no need for any grandstanding from George Christensen – he just needs to save himself the trouble and convince his own colleagues to support Labor’s Bill.

    “Research released earlier this month from the independent thinktank, the McKell Institute shows these cuts will bite the hardest for workers in rural and regional areas.

    “The penny has finally dropped for George Christensen – it’s a shame it’s taken so long to realise what we have known all along - these cuts will be devastating for already low-paid workers.

    “Nearly one in five regional workers are employed in retail and hospitality and these workers are already paid less than their city counterparts – the last thing they need is a pay cut,” she said.

    The McKell Report also found that the penalty rates cuts would reduce the disposable income of workers across regional and rural Queensland by a whopping $146 million.

    “This will devastate family budgets and reduce spending on local goods and services – affecting the very businesses the cuts are purported to benefit.

    “At a time when wages growth is at record lows, low paid workers need a pay rise, not a pay cut.

    “How embarrassing for the Prime Minister that his inaction on this issue has led to the member for Dawson going it alone.

    “The Prime Minister needs to show some leadership and compassion on this issue and stop these cuts,” Minister Grace said.

    Media contact: Martin Philip 0427 919 548