Labor's Australian Jobs Taskforce to hear from workers in Bendigo

Labor’s Australian Jobs Taskforce is today meeting in Bendigo to discuss with workers the devastating impacts that penalty rates cuts could have on them.

These are the Liberal-National’s cuts: Malcolm Turnbull supports them, and he could stop them if he wanted.

Figures show the Bendigo electorate will be hard hit by the Turnbull Government’s refusal to stop the Fair Work Commission’s cut to penalty rates.

More than 11,540 people, or one in six workers, in the Bendigo electorate work in the retail, pharmacy, food and accommodation industries affected by the cuts – they will lose up to $77 a week because of Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts.

We know these cuts are just the thin edge of the wedge of a broader assault on the take home pay of workers, as employer groups are already making new submissions to cut weekend penalty rates in other sectors of the economy.

Retail is the second biggest industry in the Bendigo electorate, employing 7,657 workers. Food and hospitality is the seventh biggest industry in Central Victoria employing 3,883 workers.

It is also bad for the Central Victorian economy, wages growth is at record lows and now workers have less money to spend in local shops, restaurants and other businesses.

Labor is the only party that has made a submission to the Fair Work Commission arguing against the penalty rates cuts and calling for the decision to be set aside entirely.If the Prime Minister truly cared about protecting workers he could support Labor’s Bill in the Parliament, which will stop his cuts to penalty rates and protect the take-home pay for people who rely on penalty rates into the future.

Labor’s submission makes clear what the community already knows – only Labor will stand up for workers from attacks on penalty rates.

Today’s Bendigo Hearings are part of the Taskforce’s on-going tour across the country.

Labor established the Australian Jobs Taskforce to give Australians the chance to speak out about how the Turnbull Government’s attack on penalty rates, jobs and working conditions will hurt them, their families and their community.