THE head of the Tamworth Business Chamber has called for a rational discussion on the issue of Sunday trading and penalty rates.
In light of the Productivity Commission’s industrial relations review draft report calling for Sunday penalty rates to be in line with Saturday rates, Business chamber president Tim Coates said Fair Work had done a reasonable job and there needed to be a rational conversation about how it would work.
“We need to have a reasonable discussion about the fact that could create employment for those who are currently unemployed and younger people,” he said.
“It’s not about taking money out of people’s pockets, it’s about creating opportunity. What it should do, it should encourage employers, that if there is a lower rate, to consider opening on Sundays.
“Whether a lot of businesses seize that opportunity, and we’re talking small to medium-sized businesses. They are usually owner-operated and some choose not to open because it’s too expensive, and some because Sunday is their only day off.”
Mr Coates said the proposal would create opportunities for those who believed it was too expensive to consider opening on a Sunday.
“If you get all parties around the table and leave specific agendas at the door, you can come up with an outcome that is good for everybody,” he said.
“Regional areas are different to Sydney metro areas. We are more accepting in the bush if a business is closed on a Sunday. We are a little bit more laidback, but our world has changed and a lot of people used to go to church on Sunday and they don’t anymore. A lot of people used to have family gatherings on a Sunday and they don’t. Sunday means different things to different people than it did 15 or 20 years ago.”
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has indicated that it would fight any government attempt to cut penalty rates as proposed.
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