After what seems like an eternity, the penalty rates issue flared again this week, after the Senate passed measures to reverse the decision of the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to reduce Sunday and public holiday rates.

Labor teamed up with the Greens and some crossbenchers to pass amendments to the Government’s bill, however the Bill was returned to the House of Representatives. However Nationals MP George Christianson crossed the floor to rebuff the Opposition challenge, the Government managed to secure the numbers to defeat the penalty rates reversal.  

It would have set a dangerous precedent for the Opposition to have been successful, on the back of a ferocious campaign to overturn a decision made by the very body it set up to ensure the independence of such decisions, which must be free from political intervention and influence.

We are deeply disappointed in Labor’s belligerence in using this issue for political point-scoring – we and others in this industry have collectively worked long and hard to achieve this necessary reduction for you and just want to see all of you able to get on with the job.

We have scored a win in New South Wales this week after Minister for Regulation Michael Kean agreed to delay until March 31, 2018, the implementation of reforms forcing retailers to put a minimum three year expiry date on gift cards.

This means that current laws will stand for all gift cards sold during the busy Christmas trading period, and will also allow you to use up your current inventories of gift cards (further details on the transitional timetable are expected soon).

Despite a shutdown of negotiations between the State Government and other industry representatives on this issue, we are proud to have earned a seat at the table and secure this great result, which means you now have the time you need to prepare for these reforms.

This is testament to what can be achieved by approaching issues reasonably and collaboratively, not combatively. 

We are dedicated to negotiating your needs in a sensible, strategic and respectful manner to ensure we continue to hold our seat at the decision making table and are looking forward to representing your needs into 2018.