Ministers statements: penalty rates

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) — I rise to inform the house that I have written to the Fair Work Commission after they requested parties assist in designing transitional arrangements for penalty rate cuts.

There is no way to soften the blow when it comes to cutting the wages of the most vulnerable workers in this country. Despite the spin and the fiction by the Prime Minister of this country, and after some deliberations, I have decided to tell the Fair Work Commission that there are no transitional arrangements that can help those that will be affected in having their pay cut — those that work on Sundays, those that work on public holidays. There is no way of easing this in.

The commission have been advised by the Victorian government that we remain opposed to these penalty rate cuts. The position of this government is clear, and it should be supported by those opposite. The electorate of Kew has just over 1000 workers that will be affected by these cuts. The electorate for Burwood, we estimate, has over 950 workers that will be cut. But will they stand up for their constituents? Will they stand up to their mates in Canberra for retail workers, for hospitality workers — —

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Speaker, you have previously cautioned other ministers today about this. The minister is proceeding to debate the issue rather than comply with sessional orders and advise the house about matters. I ask you to bring her back to compliance with sessional orders.

The SPEAKER — Order! The minister did begin her statement in the correct fashion, but then strayed on to opposition members. I would ask the minister to come back to providing a ministers statement.

Ms HUTCHINS — The penalty rate cuts are simply wrong. When you compound them with the lowering of penalty rates in the context of some of the lowest wage rises we have seen, as was mentioned by the — —

Honourable members interjecting.

Questions and statements interrupted.


Member for Ferntree Gully

The SPEAKER — Order! The member for Ferntree Gully will leave the chamber for the period of 1 hour. I remind members that I would like to be able to hear the minister and what she is saying.

Honourable member for Ferntree Gully withdrew from chamber.


Ministers statements: penalty rates

Questions and statements resumed.

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Industrial Relations) — We support no part of this process of cutting the wages of the most vulnerable in this state, those who are earning at the base rate who are going to lose a minimum $72 a week on average, and we may see more cuts.

When you compound that over a year, we are looking at thousands and thousands of dollars that these workers will not be able to use to live and to put back into the Victorian economy.