Media Releases

These are recent media releases related to my electorate of Murrumbidgee.

My Ministerial media releases are published in full here.

Liberals’ penalty rate cuts to strike twice in Southside Club

June 09, 2017

Member for Murrumbidgee Chris Steel MLA has today joined United Voice outside of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Canberra to speak out against proposed penalty rate cuts affecting workers at the Southern Cross Club.

“As a local Member I am very concerned that the Southern Cross Club - the Southside’s largest club - is proposing to cut the penalty rates for hundreds of the lowest paid workers in my community,” Mr Steel said.

“There is no evidence cutting penalty rates will create new jobs for Canberrans, but we know it will cut the take home pay of some of our lowest paid and most vulnerable workers - particularly young people working in insecure jobs.

“It is extremely disappointing my local club has chosen to be the flag bearer for the Liberals’ unfair penalty rate cuts.”

The Club is supposedly looking to transition workers from their current enterprise agreement to a new enterprise agreement which reflects conditions of the Clubs Award. This would see a penalty rates cut on Sunday from 200% to 175% from 1 July 2018, with penalty rate cuts on Saturdays and weekdays (before/after hours).

However, the Enterprise Agreement also foreshadows a future proposal to transition employees onto the Hospitality Award, which has been subject to FWC’s decision to reduce penalty rates and would further lower penalty rates to 150%.

“It is unfortunate that the Southern Cross Club is planning to cut penalty rates not once, but twice,” Mr Steel said. 

“Worst of all, we believe the Southern Cross Club is the first club in Australia to effectively build the penalty rates cuts into a new Enterprise Agreement, which sets a terrible precedent for the whole country.”

Mr Steel said this could see penalty rates drop from 200% to 150% on a Sunday, should workers move to the Hospitality Award.

“Labor will fight every step of the way to change our national laws to protect penalty rates for all Australian workers,” Mr Steel said. 

The Fair Work Commission hearing occurs at the same time that the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs is receiving submissions from the public to investigate the extent and consequences of insecure work, allegations of exploitation and poor practices in the workplace in the ACT.

“The ACT Government will always stand up for our community’s lowest paid and most vulnerable workers. We do not support the recent decision to cut penalty rates for those Australians who give up Sunday with their family to look after the rest of us,” Mr Steel concluded.