Ministers statements: penalty rates

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:27:36) — I rise to update the house on an unfortunate development — that is, a Federal Court decision that was made last week to uphold the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rate cuts for hospitality, retail and fast-food workers. We know that this decision will have a huge impact on many of Victoria’s lowest paid workers. Workers that are most affected include young workers, female workers and of course workers in regional areas.

Honourable members interjecting.

Ms HUTCHINS — But we know those opposite do not care. We can hear that from the interjections. Certainly we know that the member for Kilsyth supports — and I quote:

I support the federal government’s changes to penalty rates.

Mr Hodgett — Kilsyth?

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Members will come to order. The minister, I am sure, is referring to the member for Croydon but will not use a ministers statement as an opportunity to attack the opposition. The minister to continue.

Ms HUTCHINS — Or Dodgy Hodgy. No, we won’t go there.

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! I warn the minister.

Ms HUTCHINS — They have no interest in defending workers — there is no doubt about that — but I am very thankful that the federal opposition have announced in the last few days that they will outlaw, if they come to government, sham employment arrangements and reinstate penalty rates on Sundays, and I welcome that development. Such law will bring to an end some of the sham arrangements that are currently underway and affecting workers here in Victoria, what almost ended up happening at Carlton & United Breweries and what is currently going on at the Esso dispute, where a new contractor has shamelessly used rehiring the same workers under a different enterprise bargaining agreement so they can substantially lower wages and conditions. That is something that needs to come to an end. This is exactly the type of leadership that we do not see from the Turnbull government at a time when inequity is rising and we are seeing historically low wage growth. I say that I welcome that development. We will continue on this side to fight against those penalty rate cuts.