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Local cafes back penalty rates

New owners of Galutzi, Pete and Belle Green, are in full support of weekend penalty rates.Local cafe owners are not in favour of cutting weekend penalty rates amid building momentum in the Coalition for industrial relations reforms.
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Member for Hume Angus Taylor is among a number of Liberal MPs to recently advocate for reduced weekend penalty rates in sectors such as hospitality, retail and tourism to drive business growth and stimulate employment.

Mr Taylor told Fairfax media that high penalty rates were stopping country cafes opening on weekends.

“If you walk around on a Sunday or a public holiday many of the cafes are closed,” he said.

“I have spoken to the owners and they say, ‘look we’d love to open, but it’s just not economical’. Many of these are family-owned businesses so, if they’re going to be open on a Sunday, they’ll use family members themselves rather than employ people, because of the high weekend penalty rates.”

New owners of Galutzi cafe, Pete and Belle Green, are happy to pay their staff extra on weekends.

“We are not against penalty rates,” Mr Green said.

“The girls deserve to be remunerated for giving up their weekends to work. They earn every cent and we are happy to pay it.”

Galutzi does not trade on Sundays but Mrs Green said that was due more to a “lifestyle” choice than higher wages.

Thyme to Taste owner Andrew Dodds does open most Sundays and has done since he started the local deli/cafe.

He said he was also in full support of paying staff penalty rates and the added cost did not influence his trading hours.

“It does not make a difference, we have always opened on weekends and it is just something we factor into our business model.

“Staff should be awarded penalty rates for giving up their weekends.”

Mr Taylor has, however, said he is most concerned about the people who are unemployed and underemployed.

“And the real problem we have with the way the union movement thinks about this, and the Fair Work Commission, is they seem much more worried about the conditions of those who are already in work and have very little concern for the people who either aren’t in work or are underemployed.

“We can’t afford to have wages that are at levels that are just not going to work – and that’s the situation we’ve got with weekend penalty rates.”

The Hume MP added there would be no impact on emergency services workers if penalty rates were cut.

The issue of industrial relations reforms was briefly raised in Question Time in Federal Parliament last week, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull giving his clearest signal yet that changes could be on the table at the next election.

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