Union members have hit the street of Wangaratta, Benalla and Wodonga this week, speaking to local residents about penalty rates and urging Indi MP Cathy McGowan to vote to protect penalty rates in Parliament.
In the coming weeks, a push to protect penalty rates in legislation will be introduced to Parliament. Cathy McGowan has an opportunity to vote with Labor, the Greens, and other cross-benchers to support the move, but has so far indicated she will not.
Union members have been visiting shopping centres and workplaces around the Indi electorate to help encourage Ms McGowan to change her mind. In addition, they have funded a series of radio and newspaper ads, posters and large billboards to help drive the message home, that local families want penalty rates protected.
Polling conducted by ReachTEL shows that nearly 70% of Indi residents think people should be compensated with penalty rates for working unsociable hours, and that 42.6% would be less likely to vote for Ms McGowan at the next election if she doesn’t support legislation that will stop penalty rates being cut.
Research from the McKell Institute indicates that 6,438 Indi workers stand to lose an average of $2,369 a year if penalty rate cuts. This wage cut represents approximately 15 weeks’ worth of groceries, 25 full days of child care or almost 2 months’ rent to a typical Wodonga resident.
Quotes attributable to Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council:
Local families want their penalty rates protected. Cathy McGowan knows this, because I’ve shown her the research myself.
Cathy McGowan can use whatever excuse she wants not to protect penalty rates, but really she has a simple choice to make - vote in Parliament to block penalty rate cuts, or vote with the Liberals and cut the wages of thousands of local residents every year for the next four years.
We’re doing everything we can to make Cathy McGowan see sense, because any cut to penalty rates is a wage cut local families can’t afford.
Cathy McGowan says she’s a voice for Indi, but the voice we’re hearing in Indi are loud and clear – they want their penalty rates protected. If Cathy McGowan votes with the Liberals to allow penalty rate cuts, the impact on local families will be devastating.
It’s not too late for Cathy McGowan to change her mind and stand up for local families.
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