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Byron Shire
December 2, 2023

Pressure on Hogan to stand up for penalty rates

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Lismore councillor Eddie Lloyd. Photo supplied
Lismore councillor Eddie Lloyd. Photo supplied

Lismore City councillor Eddie Lloyd has made an impassioned plea to Page MP Kevin Hogan (Nationals) to protect Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

And she has launched a petition so members of his electorate, who she says would be disproportionately disadvantaged by the changes, can voice their opposition to the government move.

Ms Lloyd described the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash the wages of workers in the fast food, retail and pharmacy sectors as ‘a massive blow to the northern rivers region.’

Lowest paid workers

Ms Lloyd said that while the council had no power to change the rules, she is speaking up ‘because Kevin Hogan isn’t saying anything.’

‘He’s not standing up for his community – somebody has to. I’m down there every day talking to the community and I treat my position as a community representative very seriously. And if there are concerns… that the local federal MP is not taking up then I have to say something,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘The people affected by this appalling decision are overwhelmingly low-paid casual workers – the very people who can least afford to have their wages cut,’ she said.

‘It’s a very big issue that is affecting thousands of people. Our electorate has actually got a higher rate of employees of the retail and hospitality industry compared to the rest of Australia she said.’

Silent on the issue of penalty rates: Page MP Kevin Hogan Photo Darren Coyne
Silent on the issue of penalty rates: Page MP Kevin Hogan Photo Darren Coyne

ReachTEL survey

According to a ReachTEL poll commissioned by the ACTU, and conducted on February 27 and 28, voters in Page could be prepared to ditch Mr Hogan at the next election over the issue.

Among 3,515 surveyed in five swinging electorates, 65.1 per cent said the government should legislate to protect penalty rates, compared with 34.9 per cent who oppose intervention.

Ms Lloyed, who has launched a petition calling on Mr Hogan to cross the floor over the planned changes, says ‘it’s going to impact very drastically on Mr Hogan’s constituents.’

‘I’m hoping to get about 1,000 signatures before I take the petition to Mr Hogan,’ she told Echonetdaily.

One-seat majority

Ms Lloyd said that as the government has just a one-seat majority in the lower house, ‘we’re calling on the other independents to join Labor in supporting this legislation.’

‘So I’m asking Mr Hogan to stand up for his community and cross the floor and support this legislation, which is going to protect the penalty rates of so many in his own community,’ she said.

‘These are the last people who can afford to have their wages cut.

‘It’s going to hurt young people trying to put themselves through university. It’s going to disproportionately affect women and single parents on low-paid retail and hospitality jobs, who rely on penalty rates and the flexibility that part time work offers them.

‘I know from my own personal experience as a former student at SCU, that working as a waitress on Sunday meant I could afford essentials like food, rent, petrol and textbooks.

More jobs unlikely

Ms Lloyd said there was ‘no evidence that reducing penalty rates is going to increase business hours. ‘

‘In fact, in evidence given at the Fair Work Commission many employers said it was unlikely that they would put on any more staff if penalty rates were reduced,’ she said.

‘And Citigroup last year released financial analysis that found retailers were likely to deliver “any savings from penalty-rate cuts to their shareholders”.

‘It’s a self-defeating strategy that’s going to lead to less consumer demand because… when you start hacking into people’s wages they’re going to stop spending.

‘They’re not going to go out for coffee or breakfast, or buy that skirt or upgrade that phone. They’re not going be able to afford it.

‘The staff that this is saving money from are also the consumers that keep the economy ticking.

‘Wage growth is at an all-time low, expenses are at an all-time high. And do you know what else is at an all-time high? Company profits. They are the highest they’ve been in 40 years.

‘This government is so out of touch with our local workers. It’s just like a sick joke. And I can’t believe Mr Hogan is going to stand by and watch the lowest-paid workers of this community suffer this slap,’ Ms Lloyd said.


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  1. Eddie,
    If the Barnett Government in WA lose the election this Saturday, the media will say at least it was not because of the cut in Penalty Rates.
    Question Eddie:
    Why is a cut in Penalty Rates sought when the present Sunday rate has been with us for decades?
    The answer you may not not want to contemplate.
    The answer is that the economy is not s good as what we are to believe.
    This October, 2017 the Holden Car plant closes in South Australia. There will be a flow-on lay-offs from that closure as the Holden is “Australia’s Own Car”.
    Someone has to be blamed. So we now have all over the nation in the newspapers that the cut in Penalty Rates will increase employment.
    Why would an employer who will now receive more money from the cut, then give that money back to put someone else on when the economy is flat, dull and not booming?
    We have also had a warning from China that their economic growth has been cut by 0.1 percent and they are struggling to stop it dropping.

  2. ATTENTION: FairWork & ProductivityCommissions: my TEAM OF INDEPENDENTS as Stimulus & Tax Reform offers Penalty Rates @ no cost to employers EASY!

  3. Any system that the Govt supports which is designed to hold existing workers wages at the current level, and only new employees will get the slashed rate would be ridiculous! I’ll bet the rate of sacking of existing employees will rise as new employees will be recruited. AND imagine the tension in a situation where two employees doing the same job get different pay – Yeah, OK, women have had to put up with that for ages, I know and acknowledge. – equally wrong.
    Many employers recognise that productivity is less about more workers on the lowest possible wage as it is on the happiness and therefore reliability of the staff.
    And I agree with the comments about lower wages means less consumers as the ‘saved ‘capital goes to shareholders.
    Yet another decision which takes from the poor and gives to the rich. When will capitalists wake up to the need for equitable sharing of wealth – or does it take a revolution as it has in past history?

  4. I agree Richard, Abetz’ grandfathering proposal was dumb – anyone who has worked in a minimum wage workplace where teamwork is important would know the tensions it would create. Characterizing this as a one that takes from the poor and gives to the rich is exaggerated and misleading. Australian minimum wages are among the highest, and penalty rates for weekend work are not usual. This decision means those on Sunday will now get a quite generous supplement to a very good minimum wage instead of the very high supplement before. Sunday workers will remain among the highest paid for their jobs anywhere in the world. The decision is important for the Northern Rivers as the area receives a lot of weekend visitors from SE QLD. It will allow more business to open or to extend their opening on Sundays, providing more higher paid work to their employees, or more jobs to new employees – all of benefit to the mainly small business owners, and their lower paid workers, and the economy of the region. It was not an easy decision to make as some individuals will loose some pay and will be understandably vocal about it, but Shorten and Labor are to be congratulated for putting in place the review that will benefit many more low wage employees and those “Capitalists”, like the local bakery shop owner, that employ them.

  5. The shadowy people that will profit from this decision and bankroll Hogan and the LNP/IPA are the ones demanding this assault on the wages of hard working Australian families in regional Australia.
    All we can do is boycott any business that cuts penalty rates for it’s employees, remember the business does not have to instigate LNP/IPA rip off’s on it’s employees wages, most will continue to respect their employees and pay them the proper rates.
    Many business are going to have bill boards, explaining they pay proper wages on week ends and respect their employees, support these businesses and boycott the greedy pro LNP/IPA rip off shops.

    • Tweed There is nothing shadowy about people who want to put limits on high penalty rates paid on what are already high minimum wages. Any business that finds operating on Sunday marginal will support the decision of Fair Work Australia, and so will the rest of us if we want to maximize employment so lower paid workers, and in some cases currently unemployed people, will have more opportunities to receive the still generous reduced penalty rate for work on Sunday. Families will welcome the increased opportunities for work for their kids, and those who boycott business providing those opportunities will only reduce those opportunities and hurt those dependent on Sunday work. I note too this was not an LNP decision – if Labor did not recognize it was a necessary move to help the economy and maximize job opportunities, why did it get Fair Work Australia to investigate the matter and come to this decision? Labor’s current stance is nothing but political opportunism to try and attract support from the smaller number of people who will be disadvantaged by it.

  6. Doesn’t Petrus, who never sets foot outside of Canberra but seems happy to comment on any- & everything taking place in the norther rivers, realise that every cafe, shop and restaurant in Byron Bay already opens on a Sunday?
    And for those that don’t open in our region, in places like Lismore for example, a few extra bob for the owner is not going to make the difference.
    Canberra pen-pushers like Petrus almost certainly earn ‘among the highest in the world’, and maybe their baristas do better than most, but regional wages are well below their capital-city equivalents.

  7. Hmmm. Does mean there will no longer be a surcharge for customers at cafes and such on holidays and weekends?
    Wonder why this is never mentioned in debates. Staff have told me the surcharge is for penalty rates…

  8. If you ask me- she is scheming to run as the labor candidate for Page during the next federal election. What a great tactic, standing up to what will be her future opposition.


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