The recent decision by the Fair Work Commission to cut penalty rates, with no compensatory increase in other areas of pay, is one that will affect millions of people in regional Australia.
Retail is the second-largestindustry in the regional economy, employing 93,000 workers. Rural Australians already earn
far less than their Sydney-based counterparts. Where one in four Sydney families earn more than $2000 a week, only one rural family in 10 can claim the same.
A substantial share of the rural retail economy is headquartered in Sydney. If a business is owned locally, it’s possible that any cut in penalty rates will still be spent in the area by the business owner. When companies are headquartered in Sydney or internationally, any cut in pay will leave the rural economy entirely.
Rural retail workers will lose about 10% of their income. This means $225 million will leave the rural economy – or $17 million per rural electorate. This is disposable income that won’t be spent in regional shops, impacting the whole economy.
The Nationals are in favour of this pay cut.
Barnaby Joyce has come out in favour of cutting penalty rates – and against the interest of his community.