The accommodation industry is joining calls for reform of Australia’s industrial relations system, ahead of services in the industry being cut this Easter weekend due to what some call “excessive” penalty rates.
Unless changes are made to the existing regime, visitors and staff will continue to lose out, the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) has declared.
“Accommodation businesses – particularly those in regional and rural parts of Australia – are being hamstrung by the direct cost to operators of penalty rates,” AAoA chief executive, Richard Munro, said.
“While cafes, restaurants and retail businesses can choose to close this Easter weekend, accommodation businesses cannot, as they have to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Instead, many bars and restaurants within accommodation businesses will be shut because it is unprofitable for them to open.
“This makes for a less-than-desirable reception for international visitors, while staff miss out on shifts.”
The situation is worse in some states and territories than others, Munro said.
“In NSW and Victoria, for example, all four days over Easter are classified as public holidays. This means that casual staff who work on the four days across Easter will be paid the equivalent of 11 normal working days.
“This is a clear demonstration that current penalty rates are too high.”
Munro makes clear that accommodation industry isn’t trying to get penalty rates abolished. It wants them set at “a reasonable level” to – among other things – attempt to ensure that Australia can compete with other low-cost international destinations which are on our doorstop.
“The tourism industry is Australia’s largest services export with excellent prospects for growth, however shutting down on public holidays due to penalty rates detracts from our product and jeopardises potential expansion,” Munro comments.
“This will continue to be the case unless penalty rates are overhauled.”
Edited by : Peter Needham