Labor Government Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Workplace Relations

HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) — I rise to inform the house of a new initiative, and that is that the Andrews Labor government will be making a submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into workplace relations — an inquiry, as the Premier has outlined, that has foreshadowed drastic, dramatic changes to the penalty rates and minimum rates of pay of our workers in Victoria. What we are going to do is stick up for Victorian workers.

Ms HUTCHINS — I do have new information to reveal in relation to our submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry. I can reveal the true cost to Victorian workers of cuts to their penalty rates.

Let me outline: there are over 580 000 Victorian employees who work on weekends, over 300 000 who usually work on Saturdays in their main job, over 200 000 who work on Sundays, over 157 000 who work a nightshift on any given night and over 277 000 who are paid at or below the minimum wage. Many hardworking Victorians rely on their penalty rates, including retail workers at our supermarkets, tradies on weekend calls, machinery operators, and drivers of the vans and trucks that keep our cities serviced day and night.

A Liberal cut to penalty rates has nothing to do with productivity and everything to do with penalising Victorian workers, making it harder for them to put food on the table and petrol in the car and to meet their mortgage demands. Victorians rely on their penalty rates; they factor them into their family budgets and way of life. We will stand up to Tony Abbott and defend Victorian workers’ rights in every way.