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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6800

Mr SECKER (6:48 PM) —Recently many small business owners in my electorate have become anxious about what new modern awards mean for them. Small businesses which already operate on small profit margins are rightly worried about huge increases in their wage bills—in some cases, 20 per cent or more—that appear inevitable as a consequence of Labor’s award modernisation. These so-called modern awards have the potential to see thousands of employees lose their jobs and push an already struggling small business sector to the wall. The awards are going to put up the costs of labour in a whole range of industries and, as a result, see people laid off.

An irrigator in my electorate said the modernisation will drive up her wage costs. She says that most horticultural employment is seasonal. Crops need to be picked and Sundays need to be worked. That is because customers expect produce to arrive on Monday mornings. She says that it is hard enough to turn a profit as it is in the current environment, with drought, water restrictions and the economic downturn, and this government is killing off small business.

Another small business owner of a pizza franchise in Berri tells me that when the award is introduced it will be devastating for his business. He employs 15 staff aged from 15 to 50 years of age. He tells me that as a fast food pizza shop the primary business hours are from 4 pm to 9 pm daily, and later on Friday and Saturday. He says the award will be devastating for his business, forcing him to pay an additional loading for all hours worked after 6 pm every Saturday and every Sunday. (Time expired)