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August 09, 2016

Labor calls on the Government to reverse its support for cuts to penalty rates following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) quarterly Statement on Monetary Policy, which forecasts a continuation of low wages and employment growth.

Labor has consistently refuted, on economic grounds, the Government’s claims that penalty rates are unaffordable due to high wages, and that cutting penalty rates will increase employment. The RBA’s statement flies in the face of these Liberal lies.

The RBA’s latest statement shows that wages growth has stagnated. If wages growth does not improve off recent lows, we will see a knock-on effect for household income, consumption and economic growth.

At the same time the RBA notes that employment growth has slowed since the start of 2016, underemployment remains too high, and part time jobs continues to drive jobs growth.  

Yet the majority of Liberals continue to argue that penalty rates should be cut.

There is absolutely no evidence to back the Liberals’ claims that slashing penalty rates will produce more jobs.

Even John Hart, CEO of the Restaurant and Catering Association has conceded that cutting penalty rates won’t generate new employment, rather if penalty rates are cut, "people will work more hours for the same pay.”

Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to cut penalty rates for Australia’s lowest paid shows how out of touch he is.

At a time when we are facing the slowest wages growth in 25 years, Labor supports workers’ penalty rates and will oppose Mr Turnbull’s attempts to cut them.

Rather than a race to the bottom on wages, Labor believes the Government should invest in the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future.