Rates cut caution

Local small-business owners say the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to cut Sunday penalty rates may encourage more Mildura City retailers to open, but a union says it will dramatically cut disposable income in the region.

The Productivity Commission last week released a draft report into workplace relations, which recommended Sunday penalty rates be slashed to Saturday’s rate.

Essential services, such as emergency service workers, would be exempt from the cuts recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Mildura City chair Ryan Hammerton said the wage costs associated with Sunday trade made it an unviable option year-round for many traders.

“It would be advantageous, certainly it would strengthen the option of Sunday trade for a lot of retailers,” he said.

Mr Hammerton owns Hammerton’s Jewellers on Langtree Avenue and said the costs for his business to open on a Sunday were enormous.

“For us, both being able to serve customers, the length of time it takes to serve customers and from a security point of view we need a minimum two employees to open,” he said.

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